Last year, Maine enacted "An Act To Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors" that prohibited the collection, receipt and use of personal information and health-related information from minors for marketing purposes without first obtaining verifiable parental consent. A coalition of publishing and educational groups challenged the law on constitutional grounds, arguing that the law was overbroad and restricted First Amendment rights. The court subsequently dismissed the complaint because Maine's Attorney General agreed not to enforce the law.

This year, the Maine legislature introduced a bill titled "An Act to Protect Minors from Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices" (LD 1677) that would repeal the law enacted last year and would prohibit the collection and use of personal information collected on the internet from a minor (i.e., those who are at least 13 and under 17 years of age) for the purposes of pharmaceutical marketing. The law authorizes Maine's Attorney General to promulgate rules consistent with the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) within one year of the effective date of the bill. We will notify you when the Attorney General issues the proposed rules.

Although this bill is more narrowly drawn than the bill enacted last year, it may still have a big impact on pharmaceutical marketing. COPPA applies to personal information collected from those under 13 while the Maine bill applies to personal information collected from those who are at least 13 and under 17, and COPPA contains some exceptions, such as allowing an entity to use a child's email address for a one-time notification, that are not in the Maine bill.