Virginia State Board Of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council

425 U.S. 748 (1976)


Virginia declared the 'practice of pharmacy a professional practice affecting the public health, safety and welfare,' and to be 'subject to regulation and control in the public interest.' They subjected the profession to extensive regulation aimed at preserving high professional standards. Pharmacists were forbidden to advertise prescription drug prices. Potential penalties for violation of this law include license suspension or revocation. The Consumer Council (P) sought an injunction against enforcement of this rule, claiming that it was an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment rights of both pharmacists and consumers. P claimed that the ban had resulted in wide price variations from outlet to outlet, as much as 650%. The District Court's held that First Amendment interests in the free flow of price information could be found to outweigh the countervailing interests of the State. The court ruled for P and D appealed.