Western Sahara: CMS Proposes To Expand Access To Part D Data For Research

On January 10, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to alter key components of the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Programs (Proposed Rule). Understandably, the Proposed Rule garnered significant attention with respect to its potential impact on MA and Part D plan sponsors and their beneficiaries. The Proposed Rule, however, also proposed notable expansions to Part D data access that, to date, have received much less attention from affected stakeholders.1 While CMS recently announced that it will not finalize many parts of the Proposed Rule at this time as a result of strong public feedback it received regarding those proposals, the agency has indicated that it intends to proceed with the rulemaking process to finalize the proposed Part D data access provisions upon consideration of any public comments it has received.2

In the Proposed Rule, CMS proposed to rescind an existing rule that prohibits the agency from releasing unencrypted prescriber, pharmacy and plan identifiers contained in prescription drug event (PDE) records to certain external researchers.3 The Proposed Rule would make this data available to such researchers, subject to certain conditions, and would greatly expand access to this rich data asset. CMS also clarified that it is permitted to release Part D "non-final action data" to entities outside of CMS, which will enable both external entities and non-CMS government agencies to distinguish original prescription data from amended or deleted versions of the Part D data.4

When considered in light of other proposed data initiatives by the administration, the Proposed Rule presents the possibility of a federal government increasingly open to the proposition that, alongside rigorous privacy and security controls, there may need to be a strategy for leveraging data to solve, explore, understand and ultimately address the crises of coverage, care and quality facing the U.S. health system. As CMS contemplates further expanding external researchers' access to Part D data, it will be important for stakeholders to be cognizant of how CMS will ultimately finalize these provisions in the forthcoming final rule. As proposed, the changes enumerated by CMS will have notable implications for transparency, fraud and abuse oversight, outcomes and other data-driven research projects, and data-powered public health initiatives.

Background on Medicare Part D Data Collection

Under the Medicare Part D Program, private prescription drug plan sponsors (each a Part D Sponsor) must submit to CMS a PDE record that contains comprehensive information for every prescription filled under a Part D plan. At the same time, the under-representation in prospective pharmaceutical clinical research studies of elderly patients—who comprise Medicare Part D beneficiaries—is well documented.5 CMS recognizes, therefore, the potential value of retrospective Part D data in supplementing prospective research data on senior citizens.6 Although the Social Security Act authorizes research on Part D claims data to improve public health as deemed appropriate by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rulemaking was necessary to clarify and formalize the parameters within which CMS could make this data available.7 CMS subsequently interpreted the statutory language as authority to allow external third-party researchers to receive and leverage Part D data in addition to CMS and other federal agencies.8 In rulemaking and sub-regulatory guidance, CMS has created a process for providing data to researchers, both within government and externally, and has set certain limitations to Part D data sharing.

Previous Part D Data Final Rule (2008)

In May 2008, CMS published its first final rulemaking9 for the release of Part D PDE data to non-HHS federal agencies, states and external researchers under the authority provided by the Social Security Act (2008 Rule). The rulemaking sought to address three concerns raised by the provision of Part D data to entities external to HHS. First, the 2008 Rule sought to prevent undue influence from commercial interests. CMS reasoned that external research funded by commercial entities using identifiable beneficiary and prescriber information could be biased, selectively published and used to market drugs to particular prescribers.10 Second, CMS expressed a need to protect the confidentiality and privacy of beneficiaries, because it was concerned about the unnecessary and potentially inappropriate disclosure of beneficiary identifying information attached to each drug claim.11 Finally, CMS was concerned about safeguarding commercially sensitive drug pricing data, which may compromise the ability of Part D Sponsors to negotiate for rebates and price concessions from prescription drug companies, which helps to contain drug prices and health care spending.12

To address these concerns, CMS instituted a number of safeguards for disclosing Part D data for research purposes. Generally, CMS set limits on PDE data disclosures based on three tiers of recipients:

  • Non-CMS divisions of HHS and congressional oversight agencies
  • Non-HHS federal agencies and state agencies
  • External non-governmental entities (External Researchers)

While CMS may disclose PDE data to the first two tiers of recipients for non-research purposes, it is permitted to disclose PDE data to External Researchers only for "legitimate" research "that will result in generalizable knowledge in the public domain."13 Moreover, while External Researchers may be funded by commercial entities, the resulting research must "contribute to general knowledge in the public domain and the researchers must be free to publish the results of the research regardless of the findings."14

The 2008 Rule created a framework in which External Researchers could submit requests for PDE data elements to a CMS contractor—the Research Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota (ResDAC)—by providing an explanation of the research activity and the justification for requesting each data element within a PDE record, and by obtaining CMS Privacy Board approval.15 External Researchers were required to execute a data use agreement with CMS that restricts their ability to further disclose or link the data without express CMS approval.16 To protect prescription drug pricing data, the 2008 Rule prohibits the release of highly confidential individual drug pricing information to External Researchers, non-HHS agencies and state agencies under any circumstances.17 Only HHS entities and congressional oversight agencies are permitted to receive certain disaggregated drug cost data inPDE records, such as information on dispensing fees and drug ingredient costs.18

Notably, the 2008 Rule also requires CMS to encrypt beneficiary, provider, plan and pharmacy identifiers included in any released Part D PDE record data, subject to two key exceptions. First, CMS may disclose unencrypted identifiers to federal or state government agencies if the identifiers are necessary for the specific project.19 Second, CMS may disclose beneficiary, prescriber and pharmacy identifiers to an External Researcher if the External Researcher requires the identifiers to enable linking of the PDE data to other data sets, provided the identifiers are re-encrypted after linking the data.20 Plan identifiers, however, remain unavailable to External Researchers in unencrypted format, even for data-linking purposes.21 For example, under the current framework, External Researchers can conduct retrospective studies on Part D PDE data by linking the Part D data to other CMS files on the Medicare Part a and Part B programs that contain additional information regarding beneficiary age, gender, race and geographic location, as well as diagnoses of certain chronic conditions.22 Without information that identifies the Part D Sponsors, however, External Researchers cannot retrieve information on the relevant Part D plan formularies and drug tier structures that would enable the External Researcher to assess the influence of plan structure on treatment choices.23 Accordingly, the 2008 Rule includes stringent protections for provider, plan and pharmacy identifiers that are normally not treated as "sensitive information" under typical research oversight perspectives, and that limit the extent to which External Researchers can leverage Part D PDE records for public health purposes. Relevant Changes in the Proposed Rule

In the Proposed Rule, CMS recognizes that the limitations established in the 2008 Rule may impede efforts by External Researchers to fully realize the value of PDE data in improving the Part D Program and promoting public health interests.24 For example, External Researchers who are given access to plan identifiers could compare the prescribed drug's formulary and drug tier information with alternative drug therapy coverage within the same plan.25 Likewise, providing prescriber identifiers to External Researchers would enable the researcher to link the Part D claims data with employer data to analyze care quality and cost efficiencies of prescribing patterns.26 Prescriber identifiers would also allow researchers to identify benchmark prescribing patterns and analyze prescriber divergence from these benchmarks.27 Accordingly, in the Proposed Rule, CMS proposes to allow the release of unencrypted physician, pharmacy and plan identifiers to all requestors, including External Researchers (i.e., "legitimate" researchers working for or on behalf of a "reputable institution"). Additionally, the Proposed Rule would allow CMS to make available non-final action data (such as information for claims that are subject to further adjustment) to entities outside of the agency.28

The Proposed Rule would not, however, amend current data release policies relating to beneficiary identifiers and drug pricing information, such that External Researchers would continue to receive only encrypted beneficiary identifiers and aggregated drug pricing information.29 Additionally, minimum necessary requirements would continue to apply to the release of unencrypted physician, pharmacy and plan identifiers. Finally, the Proposed Rule would not amend the current limitation that only HHS and congressional oversight agencies may receive access to minimum necessary disaggregated drug cost information, including ingredient costs and dispensing fees.30

Implications of the Proposed Changes

In making more unencrypted Part D data available, but still restricting access by external entities to those that are "reputable institutions" conducting "legitimate research," CMS appears to be seeking equilibrium between two conflicting policy values. On one hand, CMS believes that it is transforming "from a passive payer of claims towards a value-based purchaser of health care." It argues in the Proposed Rule that "expanded access to PDE data by external entities" will help to improve Part D Program efficiency and the prescription drug therapies that Part D beneficiaries receive.31 On the other hand, CMS maintains some of the concerns it expressed in the 2008 Rule—specifically, that expanding access may compromise the confidentiality of beneficiaries, prescribers, pharmacies and plans, and that commercial entities may seek to use Part D data to "interfere with a physician's professional judgment."32 Ultimately, the proposal, if finalized, would underscore an increasing willingness by the agency to divulge records under federal health care programs in the interest of public health and, in particular, to better align the delivery of health care with the shift toward quality- and value-based incentives. As described below, there are signs in the Proposed Rule and in other proposed initiatives by the current administration that the equilibrium may shift again in the near future toward even more expansions in Part D data access.


First, CMS appears skeptical of the continuing existence of a confidentiality interest as it relates to prescribers, plan identifiers and pharmacies. CMS notes that in almost all cases, this data is already available to researchers from other databases.33 Part D data with prescriber information is included in commercially available data sets sold by data aggregators, while aggregated data organized by Part D Sponsor is publically available on CMS's website and through public use files.34 Additionally, CMS argues that prescribers who make appropriate prescribing decisions should have no reason to be concerned with increased transparency in their medical decision-making.35

While the current availability of certain Part D data sets that include prescriber, Part D Sponsor or pharmacy identifiers may suggest that such entities do not have a privacy interest commensurate with that of beneficiaries, there are nonetheless concerns that research using Part D PDE records with such identifiers could lead to the discovery of commercially sensitive information that is not currently available in other data sources. For example, during the rulemaking process for the 2008 Rule, Part D Sponsors expressed concern that researchers could use plan identifiers to uncover drug pricing and market share data for individual medications within specific benefit plans, which may interfere with negotiations between Part D Sponsors and purchasers of drugs regarding drug price discounts and rebates.36 This will likely remain a concern for Part D Sponsors should the Proposed Rule be finalized.

For prescribers, while data aggregators currently gather data sets containing prescriber identifiers from retail pharmacies for sale to researchers and pharmaceutical companies, there are limitations in how this data may be used to study Medicare prescribing. Most importantly, unlike PDE data, such commercial data sets are not readilylinkable to Part a and Part B claims data.37 The linking of Part a and Part B data with Part D PDE data, combined with the availability of identifiable prescriber information, could allow researchers to compare outcomes by prescriber and draw conclusions about a particular prescriber's quality of care and effectiveness. Prescribers have an interest in learning from outcomes data without the risk of the potential commercial and reputational harms that may result from retrospective observations about their prescribing decisions. These concerns, however, may be alleviated by safeguards that CMS already has in place. When applying for access to Part D PDE data, External Researchers will still be required to justify to CMS their need for each data element. As a gatekeeper, CMS can seek to ensure that all proposed research and subsequent publications of findings will be legitimate.

Interestingly, CMS does not discuss the beneficiary confidentiality interest in prescriber, plan or pharmacy data and the commensurate considerations that such beneficiary confidentiality interests raise for Institutional Review Boards and the CMS Privacy Board. Although provider, pharmacy and plan identifiers do not directly identify a beneficiary, they provide a wealth of information that can narrow down the universe of individuals to which a set of patient-level data may refer. For example, unencrypted pharmacy and prescriber identifiers may provide insight as to a beneficiary's address, as patients tend to visit doctors and pharmacies located in close proximity to their respective homes or places of work. It is important to note, however, that CMS already has a number of safeguards in place to address this issue through the application process it has established for PDE data requests, including the requirement that the CMS Privacy Board review requests for PDE data and that data recipients enter into a data use agreement with the agency. It is also likely that CMS will continue to scrutinize research requests for data that includes unencrypted identifiers, and to impose restrictions on re-identification through Privacy Board oversight or data use agreements in order to protect beneficiaries. These restrictions will not necessarily affect researchers' ability touse this newly available data, as long as the application process is not overly burdensome.


Second, CMS downplays concerns about the potential for expanded access to Part D data to facilitate undue commercial influence by external entities that may attempt to use the data to influence prescribing decisions. In addition to noting that prescriber data is already available to commercial entities through data aggregators, CMS asserts that there are already key policy "checks" in place to prevent inappropriate commercial influences. The agency notes, by way of example, the Anti-Kickback Law and the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act), the latter of which requires, among other things, certain drug, biologic, device and medical supply manufacturers to annually report certain payments or other transfers of value made to physicians and teaching hospitals. In the event CMS finalizes its proposal, recipients of the Part D data may be even better equipped to scrutinize the financial relationships between providers and industry by having a broader array of data with which to compare financial ties and prescribing patterns. The availability of Part D PDE data with unencrypted prescriber, pharmacy and plan identifiers and the enhanced scrutiny and insights it may bring underscore the importance of ensuring that all payments and transfers covered by the Sunshine Act are properly reported.


Finally, it is notable that CMS is also soliciting comments in the Proposed Rule on whether to continue restricting the release of Part D data for commercial purposes.38 While CMS disclaims that it is making any specific proposal to remove the restriction,39 the request for comments may indicate a potential willingness on the part of CMS to further expand access to Part D data in the future. If given access to Part D PDE data, it is conceivable that commercial research entities could, with appropriate privacy protectionslink the information with their existing data stores and conduct useful retrospective meta-analyses of prescription drug prescribing and outcomes. Like research by academics and non-profit entities, these studies may be conducted with the intent of improving care quality and efficiency. Thus, the proliferation of Part D data, coupled with more sophisticated data linking opportunities with which to analyze such data, may enable academic researchers as well as commercial pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to more easily assess product effectiveness and safety within the elderly population and to uncover other findings that may benefit and improve public health.

Of note, a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers has already proposed to make Medicare claims data available to commercial entities for quality improvement activities. Within the recently released bipartisan bill to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is a proposal to expand access to Medicare claims data.40 The proposal would allow "qualified entities," defined as groups certified by Medicare to conduct performance measurement with Medicare claims data and other data sources, to sell their data analyses to providers, suppliers, commercial insurers and employers for quality improvement activities and the development of alternative payment models.41 These data analyses would include identifiable patient information only if the data recipient provides care or services to the patients included in the data sets.42 Identifiable information on providers and medical suppliers, however, may be included in the data analyses so long as the providers and medical suppliers have an opportunity to review the analyses before they are sold.43 If this measure passes into law as part of the SGR repeal, it may further influence CMS to make Part D data available to commercial entities for research purposes. OTHER FEDERAL DATA INITIATIVES

It may be useful to consider the Proposed Rule in light of other data initiatives being considered or undertaken by the administration. First, CMS recently announced that it will, on a "case-by-case" basis, consider releasing information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that seek data on Medicare reimbursement payments to physicians. The agency's change in policy—effective March 18, 2014—comes after a district court lifted a decades-old injunction that, citing the primacy of physician privacy interests over interests in public transparency, prohibited HHS from releasing Medicare reimbursement payment information that identifies individual physicians.44 Under its new policy, CMS will evaluate each FOIA request for individual physician Medicare reimbursement information by balancing "the privacy interest of individual physicians and the public interest in the disclosure of information."45 How the agency will perform this calculus remains to be seen, but this is another avenue through which CMS may increase the availability of Medicare program data in an effort to improve program efficiency and target fraud and abuse.

CMS's attempt to find equilibrium between privacy and the benefits of "big data" is also indicative of a larger discussion occurring within the highest levels of the federal government. In late January 2014, John Podesta, one of the top advisors to former President Clinton and now an advisor to President Obama, announced in a blog post that the president had tasked him with analyzing the government and private sector uses of large data sets and the privacy considerations surrounding these uses.46 an intergovernmental team led by Podesta, informed by a study from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, will submit a plan of action to the presidentwithin 90 days on the collection, availability and use of data in public and private data stores.47


CMS's proposed Part D rule, when viewed in combination with these initiatives to expand external access to government data, suggests that CMS is revisiting how to best protect the privacy and security of beneficiary, provider and plan data while simultaneously harnessing the power of such data to improve the government's delivery and purchase of health care. While HHS agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality currently conduct studies using PDE data with unencrypted identifiers,48 CMS reiterated in the Proposed Rule the importance of external public health research in improving efficiency and clinical outcomes in the Part D program.49 The potential expansion of access to unencrypted PDE data by External Researchers is therefore of great interest to diverse stakeholders—some of which are lobbying for greater data access, while others are concerned about privacy and proprietary considerations. Further rulemaking will likely be instructive as to how the agency believe such sometimes-competing interests should be balanced.


1 Medicare Program; Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program, 79 Fed. Reg. 1918 (proposed Jan. 10, 2014) (to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 423).

2 Letter from Marilyn Tavenner, Adm'r, Ctrs. for Medicare & Medicaid Servs., to Hon. Henry Waxman, Ranking Member, House Comm. on Energy & Commerce (Mar. 10, 2014), available at http://www.modernhealthcare.com/assets/pdf/CH93497310.PDF.

3 42 C.F.R. § 423.505(m)(1)(D) (2013).

4 Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, 79 Fed. Reg. at 1990.

5 See Donna M. Zulman et al., Examining the Evidence: a Systematic Review of the Inclusion and Analysis of Older Adults in Randomized Controlled Trials, 26 J. Gen. Intern. Med. 783 (2011).

6 Ctrs. for Medicare & Medicaid Servs., CMS-4119-F, Fact Sheet: Final Medicare Part D Data Regulation 2 (2008).

7 See 42 U.S.C. 1395w-112(b)(3)(D)(i).

8 Medicare Program; Medicare Part D Claims Data, 73 Fed. Reg. 30,664, 30,665-66 (May 28, 2008).

9 CMS also released a final rule in April 2010 that amends certain provisions of the Part D data release requirements, but the amendments are not relevant to the issues addressed in this Special Report.

10 Medicare Part D Claims Data, 73 Fed. Reg. at 30,674-75.

11 Id. at 30,668.

12 Id. at 30,668-69.

13 Id. at 30,679.

14 Id. at 30,674.

15 Id. at 30,675. If the research is federally supported, the researcher must also obtain approval from the researcher's federal project officer and an Institutional Review Board.

16 Id. This data use agreement requirement is separate and distinct from HIPAA's requirement that a covered entity enter into a data use agreement as specified under 45 C.F.R. § 164.514(e)(3) with any recipient to whom the covered entity discloses a "limited data set." CMS's data use agreement stems from the requirements under the Privacy Act of 1974 that apply when a federal agency provides access to records that are in a "system of records" as defined under such Act. The CMS Part D records at issue in the Proposed Rule fall into this category.

17 Id. at 30,669.

18 Id.

19 Id. at 30,675-30,676.

20 Id. at 30,668.

21 Id.

22 Vicki Fung et al., Using Medicare Data for Comparative Effectiveness Research, 17 Am J. Managed Care 488 (2011).

23 Id.

24 Medicare Program; Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program, 79 Fed. Reg. 1918, 1989 (proposed Jan. 10, 2014) (to be codified at 42 C.F.R. pt. 423).

25 Fung, supra note 22, at 494.

26 Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program, 79 Fed. Reg. at 1989.

27 Id.

28 Id.

29 Id. Under the Proposed Rule, External Researchers may still use beneficiary identifiers for linking purposes as long as they do not retain the unencrypted identifiers for research.

30 Id. at 1990.

31 Id. at 1988.

32 Id. at 1989.

33 Id.

34 Id.

35 Id.

36 Elizabeth Hargraveand Jack Hoadley, Nat'l Op. Research Ctr. at the Univ. of Chi., Pub. No. 08-02, Facilitating Access to Medicare Part D Drug Claims Data 10 (2008).

37 Id. at 13.

38 Id.

39 Id.

40 SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014, H.R. 4015, 113th Cong. § 8 (2014).

41 Id. at § 8(a)(1)(A).

42 Id. at § 8(a)(3)(B).

43 Id. at § 8(a)(6).

44 Modified Policy on Freedom of Information Act Disclosure of Amounts Paid to Individual Physicians Under the Medicare Program, 79 Fed. Reg. 3205 (Jan. 17, 2014).

45 Id. at 3206.

46 John Podesta, Big Data and the Future of Privacy, The White House Blog (Jan. 23, 2014, 3:30 pm), http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/23/big-data-and-future-privacy

47 Id.

48 Ctrs. for Medicare & Medicaid Servs., CMS-4119-F, Fact Sheet: Final Medicare Part D Data Regulation 2 (2008).

49 Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program, 79 Fed. Reg. at 1989

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions