A new article in the online journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, highlights the importance for physicians of keeping valuable non-public information confidential. Under insider trading laws, it is illegal for anyone to trade securities based on non-public information and for anyone to supply information to others who trade on such information, if the person sharing the information has an obligation to keep it confidential. Examples of valuable confidential information to which you might be privy include data and opinions regarding unpublished or ongoing clinical trials or new medical equipment, and information regarding acquisitions involving public health care companies.
Physicians may share their opinions with investors about medical research or other valuable information that is already public knowledge, but the line quickly becomes blurry when it comes to non-public information. If you are asked to share information with a potential investor that you think may violate insider trading laws, it would be best to consult your legal counsel before disclosing the information. This includes instances where you are asked to disclose information to, or participate in, “expert consulting networks” and online physician forums.
The line is also blurry for physicians when disclosing non-public information to other physicians and scientists for medical research purposes. Be careful to disclose such information only for research purposes. If you become aware that one of the recipients of the non-public information may be using such information to trade securities, cease disclosing the information immediately and consider seeking legal counsel.
The online JAMA article is accessible in full at this link: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2457402