Medical Justice terminates illegal doctor review contracts

Washington – This week CDT filed a complaint with the FTC against the company Medical Justice over its practice of selling form contracts to doctors that muffled patients’ right to review their doctors online. The following day, citing the complaint, Medical Justice announced they would retire their contracts and instruct their clients to stop asking their patients to sign them.

Medical Justice has previously distributed contracts to doctor offices for patients to sign that either prohibit patients from commenting online or posting reviews about the doctor, or assign the doctor a right to remove online reviews after they are posted. In the complaint, CDT alleges that these practices are illegal: Medical Justice’s restriction on patients’ speech is unconscionable and unenforceable under contract law. The contracts prevent future patients from getting valuable information about doctors. Further, if patients refused to sign the contracts, they could be refused medical service.

While CDT remains concerned with a separate Medical Justice practice of seeding review sites with positive reviews about its clients, we are pleased with Medical Justice’s decision to retire the contracts.

CDT Consumer Privacy Project Director Justin Brookman issued the following statement:

“The online reputation-based ecosystem has increasingly afforded people the ability to make better informed decisions about what doctors they visit or what businesses they patronize. The decision by Medical Justice to terminate their illegal and unethical contracts restricting patients from writing critical doctor reviews will send an important message to other companies and individuals: Managing online reputations cannot be achieved through trickery and abusive behavior.”

Medical Justice statement: http://www.medicaljustice.com/feature-det.asp?feature-id=628899120

CDT complaint: http://www.cdt.org/files/pdfs/20111129_medjustice_complaint.pdf

CDT blog post: http://www.cdt.org/blogs/justin-brookman/2911cdt-files-ftc-complaint-against-medical-justice