Op-Ed: Why Bio-Tech and Pharma C-Suites Should Understand Sunshine Laws

Biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device developers, as well as the lawyers who represent them, gathered recently at a Kentucky Derby party in Plymouth Meeting.

Amid the games, faux betting, and interesting displays of new genetic technologies and services, I talked with researchers and chief executive officers about some fascinating projects underway.

It didn’t seem like a natural pairing for a national open-records expert to be attending a life sciences’ gathering, and it prompted curious questions about my work as a transparency lawyer, namely “What is Transparency Law?” After explaining that I obtain public records for journalists, hedge funds and big pharma using open records laws, the next question was usually one of astonishment.

“Are you are telling me that when we submit documents to the FDA or the National Institutes of Health, my competitors, or universities, or the media can see that information?” a bio-tech chief executive officer asked me, his pitch rising each time it dawned on him that another group of people could potentially obtain some of his companies’ records.

In short, the answer is yes.