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September 14, 2011

Information Disclosure and the Physician Payments Sunshine Act

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (

JAMA. 2011;306(10):1087-1088. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1298

To the Editor: Three key elements of a fair information-disclosure process are specificity and clarity about what information will be requested and posted, review by individuals of draft data about themselves, and a clear and timely appeal and correction process. In areas as diverse as personal income taxes and ethics disclosures for government officials, these principles are typically followed.

Unfortunately, in the development of Web sites disclosing financial relationships of physicians, physicians' rights have been ignored and remained unaddressed by Drs Carpenter and Joffe.1 In an era in which personal information is posted publicly and, given Internet caches and search engines, is sometimes irrevocable, physicians should be entitled to some safeguards. They should be informed of disclosure and what will be included before posting, especially personal information such as addresses or other identifying information. This is important so physicians can choose ahead of time whether they want to participate in given activities.