Subscribe   RSS Contact Us

The Elections Are Over: What Does It Mean for Healthcare?

Oct. 28, 2014 — Join us for a Webinar on Nov. 12! John Kamp, Executive Director of the Coalition for ... read more

FDA Response to MIWG Shows Willingness to Revisit Off-label Speech Policies

Oct. 27, 2014 – As members of Congress prepare legislation that may establish the conditions under which companies can share ... read more

House Legislation to Tackle Thorny Off-label Issues

Oct. 20, 2014 – It is looking like Congress may attempt to settle whether companies can speak truthfully about their ... read more

Bipartisan Bill Seeks Fix to Formalize Textbook/Reprint Sunshine Act Exclusions

Oct. 14, 2014 – After multiple efforts failed to convince the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that peer-reviewed ... read more

PhRMA, BIO, AdvaMed Tell FDA Social Media Guidance Is Lacking, Violates First Amendment

Oct. 6, 2104 – Although the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) recently reopened the comment period for its ... read more

Social Media Master Class Helps Companies Navigate Compliance

Sept. 30, 2014 – Companies striving to use social media marketing both effectively and appropriately likely will benefit from a ... read more

Coalition Panel: Data Regulation Focus Shifting from Privacy to Security

Sept. 29, 2014 – The federal government’s efforts to severely limit the ability of industry to gather and use online ... read more

In Amicus Brief, PhRMA Says Off-label Case “Raises Serious First Amendment Concerns”

Sept. 19, 2014 – Stating that a whistleblower’s interpretation of the False Claims Act has “a critical flaw” because it ... read more

Pfizer’s Susman to Talk Public/Private Partnerships at Nov. 10 Coalition Briefing

Sept. 19, 2014 – Sally Susman, EVP, Corporate Affairs, Pfizer, will share her insights on the importance of public and ... read more

CMS Bombarded with Comments Calling for CME Exemption to Remain

Sept. 9, 2014 – An overwhelming majority of comments sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by ... read more

Coalition Comment to CMS: Keep CME Exemption Under Sunshine Act

Sept. 2, 2014 – The Coalition for Healthcare Communication’s comment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asks ... read more

Open Payments Website Reopened, Dispute Period Extended and One-third of Records Withheld

Aug. 18, 2014 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it had reopened its Open ... read more

Medical Groups Ask CMS to Make Changes to Sunshine Act Implementation

Doctors Recommend Fixes to CME Exemption Elimination, Educational Materials Provision Aug. 6, 2014 – More than 100 medical associations and ... read more

Doctor Tells Congress That Communication Is Hampered by FDA, CMS Practices

July 28, 2014 – FDA and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policies are barriers to ongoing evidence development ... read more

FDA Plans to Study Effect of DTC Ads on Adolescents

July 24, 2014 – A better understanding of how adolescents weigh risks and benefits in direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads is needed ... read more

Bruce Grant Urges Pharma Communicators to Recognize Their Role in Health Advances

July 23, 2014 – Although the pharmaceuticals industry has come under fire in recent years, it is important to remember ... read more

FDA Social Media Draft Guidances Answer Some Questions, Raise Others

July 21, 2014 – Although the FDA has attempted to provide some clarity on its position regarding certain social media ... read more

Kamp to Washington Post: Companies Should Be Able to Speak Truthfully About Drugs

July 14, 2014 – Drug companies should be allowed to share truthful information about the off-label uses of their drugs, ... read more

FDA Device Document Revises Mobile Medical Apps Guidance

July 1, 2014 – The FDA’s recently issued draft guidance on medical device data systems (MDDS) not only lessens the ... read more

New FDA Social Media Guidances Address Space-limited Media, Correcting Online Misinformation

June 23, 2014 – Although the two social media draft guidance documents the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) ... read more

AMA House of Delegates: Revise Sunshine Act Rules on Textbook/Reprints and TOV Amount

June 12, 2014 – The American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) House of Delegates is attempting to bring some common sense to ... read more

House Committee Seeks Patient Input on Availability of Treatments

June 3, 2014 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee is seeking public comments from patients, providers and other stakeholders ... read more

FDA To Study Viewers’ Responses to DTC Ad Risk Information

May 29, 2014 – The FDA announced May 28 in the Federal Register that it plans to conduct an eye ... read more

WLF: FDA’s Revised Reprint Draft Guidance Violates Injunction and First Amendment

May 19, 2014 – In May 15 comments to the FDA regarding its draft guidance on reprint practices for articles ... read more

CHC Comment to FDA: Less Is More in DTC TV Ads

May 2, 2014 – The Coalition for Healthcare Communication believes that “shorter, simpler disclosures are most likely to lead to ... read more

FDA Willing to “Re-examine” Off-label Policies in Light of First Amendment Rulings

April 28, 2014 – The FDA is not taking lightly industry’s concerns that its existing off-label policies are not in ... read more

New Tax Reform Legislation Includes Limit on Ad Tax Deductions

Feb. 27, 2014 – As expected, tax reform legislation introduced yesterday by Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp ... read more

FDA Is Considering Shorter List of Risks in DTC TV Ad Major Statement

Feb. 17, 2014 – In recognition that the stream of risks currently disclosed on direct-to-consumer (DTC) television ads may be ... read more

Caronia Decision One Year Later: Off-label Change May Be Slow, But It’s Brewing

Jan. 27, 2014 – Although FDA officials have treated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision in ... read more

Coalition Calls on Senators to Reject Tax on Advertising

Dec. 16, 2013 – Today the Coalition for Healthcare Communication sent a letter to U.S. Senators and Members of the ... read more

OPDP Sends Warning Letter Based on Statements Made on Fast Money TV Show

Nov. 11, 2013 – The FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion’s (OPDP’s) recent enforcement actions – four Untitled Letters and ... read more

Physician Organizations, Medical Societies Implore HHS to Reverse Policy on Reprints and Textbooks

Oct. 28, 2013 – On Monday, 33 physician organizations and 41 national and state medical societies sent a letter to ... read more

MIWG Asks FDA to Clarify Position Regarding Manufacturer Dissemination of New Use Information

Sept. 16, 2013 – The Medical Information Working Group (MIWG), a coalition of medical product manufacturers seeking to improve the ... read more

Previous Next

WLF to CMS: Deem Medical Textbooks Educational Materials or Face Potential First Amendment Challenge

May 16, 2013 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is likely “to find itself the target of a First Amendment lawsuit by affected parties” if it does not consider medical textbooks to be “educational materials that directly benefit patients” which are excluded from a reporting requirement under the final rules implementing the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, according to a May 15 letter to CMS from the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF).

In its letter (CMS Textbook Policy), WLF asks CMS  to delay application of reporting requirements to medical textbooks until it has had an opportunity to examine the First Amendment implications of including these items as “transfers of value” from manufacturers to doctors.

Coalition for Healthcare Communication (CHC) Executive Director John Kamp remarked that the WLF letter “is strong, balanced, nuanced and likely to be effective. Indeed, if WLF convinces CMS to reverse itself on textbooks, the same reasoning applies to journal supplements, reprints and Website publications that are distributed with company support.”

Specifically, WLF contends the following in its letter:

  • The distribution of medical textbooks is speech protected by the First Amendment;
  • Although CMS is not banning speech, it is substantially burdening speech (and such burdens are subject to First Amendment constraints);
  • The Sunshine final rule’s disclosure requirement imposes a substantial burden on the right to speak by distributing medical textbooks;
  • Application of the Sunshine Act to medical textbooks does not serve any substantial government interests; and
  • CMS can avoid First Amendment difficulties by construing the Act as inapplicable to medical textbooks.

“Applying the reporting requirements to medical textbooks would constitute a serious infringement on the First Amendment rights of pharmaceutical companies to disseminate medical texts and the First Amendment rights of doctors to receive such information,” WLF Chief Counsel Richard A. Samp wrote in the letter to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that disclosure requirements of this sort [imposed by the final rule] are subject to ‘exacting scrutiny’ and can pass muster under the First Amendment only if shown to serve important government interests that outweigh the burdens they impose on speakers,” the letter states.

The WLF also states that the burden of reporting and doctors’ concerns about being included on a list of those receiving payments from drug companies will cause doctors to decline offers of medical textbooks and cause companies to cease disseminating them. Because medical textbooks communicate truthful information that helps doctors treat patients, the WLF asserts that they are fully protected by the First Amendment, as demonstrated by multiple U.S. Supreme Court decisions. “By all accounts, medical textbooks supplied by drug companies to doctors ‘directly benefit patients’ – doctors regularly use information gleaned from the textbooks in their treatment of patients,” according to the WLF.

As further evidence that medical textbooks constitute protected speech under the First Amendment, the WLF states that its 1998 lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resulted in the FDA being subject to a permanent injunction limiting FDA authority to suppress manufacturer dissemination of medical textbooks discussing off-label uses of their FDA-approved products.

“There is little evidence that Congress intended to single out textbook dissemination and other expressive activities for special disapprobation, but the effect of the Act (as interpreted by CMS) is to burden this expressive activity to such an extent that much of the activity will cease,” the WLF letter states. Samp concludes the letter by stating that “in light of the grave constitutional issues raised by CMS’s rule, courts will not defer to CMS’s reading of the Act … even if they deem it a plausible reading,” and advises CMS to reconsider and allow these educational materials to be excluded from reporting requirements.

“Exempting these as educational items not only makes sense under the Sunshine Act, it makes great public policy sense,” CHC’s Kamp said. “Informing doctors about the latest science and practice guidelines drives improved patient care. Everyone can salute that result.”