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What’s the story behind Medical Justice and its contracts?

“I think the contract is a very strong candidate for being voided. It’d be like General Motors saying, ‘If for some reason your engine explodes and harms someone in your family, you won’t tell anyone about it.’”

-Philip Peters, a health care law professor at the University of Missouri, quoted in Angie’s List, Company tries to stifle online reviews with patient ‘gag orders’

Anti-review contracts threaten free expression in arguably the largest forum of ideas – the Internet.

Some physicians now pay Medical Justice to license anti-review contracts that prevent their own patients from talking about them online.  Once signed, doctors can try to use the contract to hide from any negative public commentary about their practice—effectively short-circuiting a crucial way that customers share information with one another.

Medical Justice founder and CEO Jeffrey Segal defends his business model as promoting “responsible free speech” in an age in which a doctor’s good name—arguably her most valuable asset—can be unfairly threatened by “anonymous web postings by disgruntled patients.” Yet, Medical Justice’s anti-review contracts do not apply only to anonymous web postings; they cover all online reviews by patients. They suppress valid criticisms, even from so-called “disgruntled” patients.

When patients’ voices are stifled, the doctor-patient bond of trust is broken during some of their most important and vulnerable moments in life. Doctoredreviews.com was developed to help patients, doctors, and review websites understand the legal and ethical problems created by Medical Justice and to offer practical tips to avoid and respond to anti-review contracts.

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[Note: we initially posted this page in 2011. A few months later, Medical Justice “retired” its form. In 2016, Congress enacted the Consumer Review Fairness Act banning anti-review contracts.]