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October 13, 1997

Gag Rules and Trade Secrets in Managed Care ContractsEthical and Legal Concerns

Author Affiliations

Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences Michigan State University Bldg C201, E Fee Hall East Lansing, MI 48824; East Lansing

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(18):2037-2043. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440390019003

Gag rules—clauses in managed care contracts that prevent physicians from disclosing information that the plan may find disparaging, but that could relate directly to the patient's health—have recently been the subject of ethical condemnation and legislative prohibition. Another serious problem in managed care contracts, trade secrets, or guidelines and quality assurance mechanisms that are imposed on physicians while their origins are shrouded in proprietary secrecy, have by contrast received little attention. Responses to these ethical challenges to the physician's integrity must involve individual physicians, managed care organizations, professional organizations, and public policymakers.

Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2037-2043