Why a Court Ruling on Faxing Matters to the Device Industry

By: Christine M. Reilly
– Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry

“Believe it or not, the fax machine is not yet extinct.”

So began the split-panel decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit invalidating the Federal Communication Commission’s Solicited Fax Rule in Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley et al. v. FCC, 14-1234 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 31, 2017). The majority’s pithy opening line reflects a truism for many businesses across the country: faxing is an infrequently utilized mode of communication, often trumped by emails and websites. However, for the medical device industry, faxing has remained a mainstay of communication because doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies still rely on faxing as primary mode of communication. Thus, the Solicited Fax Rule, which was created in 2006 by the FCC, has created significant uncertainty about how medical device companies can properly communicate with customers, particularly when those communications are expected and desired.

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