Foley Attorneys Discuss Telemedicine Regulations

17 January 2023 Corporate Counsel News

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Nathaniel Lacktman and Senior Counsel Maureen Stewart are quoted in the Corporate Counsel article, “Telemedicine Firms Under Microscope After Using Dubious Tactics,” discussing the evolving legal and regulatory landscape for the industry.

“While direct-to-consumer telemedicine has been around for more than a decade, since COVID is really when there was the absolute rapid rise in both the number of companies and also in the access to telemedicine,” Stewart said. “Now is when that regulatory tail is going to kick in … when the scrutiny is going to kick in.”

Stewart continued that the FTC has made it clear it wants “upfront, non-deceptive practices.” “It’s an area that companies need to be very careful about how they set up their subscriptions and whether [customers] feel are fair and easy to access and also are easy to cancel, and that nobody feels trapped,” she said.

Lacktman concurred, adding that while founders of tech-enabled health care service providers usually know e-commerce and product design, many don’t have health care backgrounds. “They don’t even know [what] they don’t know,” he said.

Stewart recommended that telemedicine companies conduct audits and have outsiders test their products to ensure compliance. She also explained that a dynamic compliance program helps provide a feedback loop. “Compliance officers, the level of executives who would need to be involved to identify these red flags then make the changes, are very busy. So they need to be able to have meaningful feedback from the compliance program,” she added.