Doctor Challenges Fracking “Trade Secrets” Medical Gag Rule
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Fracking flames: tap water set on fire
Pennsylvania’s “Medical Gag Rule” faces a legal challenge in federal court now that a local doctor has sued the state to get the fracking-related law thrown out.
Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against the state attorney general, its secretary of environmental protection and the chairman of its Public Utility Commission claiming a new law (Act 13) prohibits him from discussing the health dangers of fracking with patients, other doctors, and the public.
Act 13 requires natural gas drilling companies to reveal the chemicals used in the fracking process. But also allows them to force doctors into signing confidentiality agreements before revealing the industrial composition of their fracking fluids, which constitute trade secrets.
“The Medical Gag Rule imposes a content-based restriction on the speech of health care practitioners receiving information from gas drilling companies on chemicals that a patient may have been exposed by requiring the health care practitioner to enter into … a vague confidentiality agreement to maintain the specific identity and amount of any chemicals claimed to be a trade secret by a gas drilling company,” Rodriguez’ civil complaint reads.
A kidney specialist, Rodriguez became involved in the fracking issue because some of his patients require pure sources of water. He receives daily alerts from federal agencies and local water companies on the status of the water system.
To Learn More:
State’s “Medical Gag Rule” Called an Illegal Gift to Gas Drillers (by Erin McAuley, Courthouse News)
Local Doctor Sues over Pa. Chemical Gag Rule (by Terrie Morgan-Besecker, The Times Leader)
Pennsylvania Doctors Worry Over Fracking 'Gag Rule' (by Susan Phillips, NPR)
Will Pennsylvania Reverse Its Gag Order on Fracking Chemicals? (by Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones)
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