Commercial Speech Is Protected by the First Amendment
Sowell, John H. III
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The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council brought suit against the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy challenging the validity of a Virginia statute, which provided that a licensed pharmacist who advertised the price of prescription drugs was guilty of unprofessional conduct. The plaintiffs contended that the ban on advertising violated the first amendment. The Virginia State Board of Pharmacy argued that advertising of prescription drugs was "commercial speech" and, as such, was not entitled to first amendment protection. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision and held that commercial speech is not wholly outside the protection of the first and fourteenth amendments.