National Physicians Alliance

Committed to Advancing the Core Values of the Medical Profession:

Service, Integrity, and Advocacy



Protect Clinical Free Speech From Industry-Backed Gag Laws

Posted by Simone Isadora Flynn, PhD, NPA Project Manager-Leveraging Social Media April 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM


Shocking: Under Act 13, physicians in Pennsylvania whose patients are suffering from exposure to fracking chemicals may need to choose between violating a corporate confidentiality agreement and violating their ethical obligations to fully inform patients about chemical exposure.[1]

Chemical exposures as trade secrets?!

This offensive gag law requires health care providers to sign a confidentiality agreement to get information on potentially harmful chemicals used in fracking, whenever the company in question deems the information to be a trade secret or confidential and proprietary.

Physicians have pushed back and brought lawsuits against Pennsylvania’s Act 13 with mixed results, but there’s hope and urgency right now.[2]

Please join the NPA in opposing physician gag laws that value the so-called trade secrets or confidential proprietary information of oil and gas companies over the rights of doctors and patients.

Help us stop censorship of clinical communication. Add your name to our petition today and join NPA’s growing movement of physicians and patients fighting laws like these.

I agree with the National Physicians Alliance that clinical communication between doctors and patients must be protected from censorship. The doctor-patient relationship depends on freedom of speech and is grounded in trust.

[1] Act No. 13 of Feb. 14, 2012, P.L. 87, 58 Pa.C.S. §§ 2301-3504, available at See especially Section 3222.1(b).

[2] In response to these lawsuits, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has already declared substantial portions of Act 13 unconstitutional, but the issue of whether the medical gag rule violates the state constitution must now be decided by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court. Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 83 A.3d 901 (2013), available at

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