Although pharmaceutical firms claim they are not required to comply with regulations
enacted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, using
HIPAA as a model for online policy may help drug companies improve their public
images, build trust with consumers and, ultimately, sell more products.
John Mack, president of the Internet Healthcare Coalition and publisher of Pharma
Privacy Watch, led a workshop to investigate the role of ethics in online
pharmaceutical promotion. Mack identified two components of ethical online promotion:
privacy and quality of information.