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Similar to this question.

Many websites containing medical information intended for medical professionals require that the user assert that he/she is one before the content can be accessed. Merck Connect is an example.

Does a curious user (not employed in the medical field) clicking on the "I am a health care professional" button to access the content risk liability of any kind? In particular, do the actions of merely clicking said button (whereby said user falsely asserts he/she is a health care professional) or accessing the content behind the button (which may be restricted by law or otherwise) attract liability? What relevant legislation exists, if any, regarding access to said websites?

Answers should focus on the United States, but answers involving other countries will be accepted as well.


Under French law, the following requirement exists, based on a December 2011 law on food safety effective May 2012 (see http://www.itena-clinical.com/en/):

les sections des sites internet réservées aux seuls professionnels de santé doivent être, a minima, accessibles après une page d'engagement de l'internaute, certifiant qu’il est un professionnel de santé.

Rough translation based on Google Translate output:

sections of websites reserved solely for healthcare professionals shall only be accessible after at least an agreement page certifying that the user is a healthcare professional.

Does a similar requirement exist under United States federal law?

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    I think this have the same burden of clicking "I am older than 18 years old" on the internet. – Marco Aurélio Deleu Nov 13 '15 at 22:53
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The purpose of the button is not to put liability on you, but to shield the website from liability. The website does not want you looking up information about drugs, deciding that a particular drug is right for you, causing yourself harm and then blaming the website.

You may have acted unlawfully but you would have no liability because no injury (financial or otherwise) has been caused to the website.

Clicking the button is an assertion that one is a medical professional. This is a false statement, so the website could sue you for the tort of deceit, but there is no injury, which is one of the elements of deceit. The website would not even get nominal damages.

The button may also constitute a contract. In exchange for access to a website, you warrant that you are a medical professional. You are not, which is a breach of the contract. However, the damages are nil.

Conceivably, if you passed the information on to someone else who misused it, there may be some injury to the website, and then you would have to compensate the website for that injury under one or both of the heads of liability described above.

In terms of criminal liability, it is rarely an offence to make a false statement to a private body without some other aggravating element. For example, in Australia, it is an offence to make a false statement for financial gain, or to make a false statement to a government official (regardless of whether there is financial gain etc). But simply making a false statement is not by itself a crime.

You may breach a computer law. The United States Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is pretty broad. Obtaining information from a computer without authority is an offence: 18 USC s 1030(a)(2)(C). The only exception is if the web server is in the same state as you and somehow nobody from outside the state can access it: see definition of 'protected computer' in 18 USC s 1030(e)(2).

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