Restrictive Korean medical advertising statute ruled unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Korea [official website] Thursday struck down a statute limiting the scope of medical advertising to statements on types of services offered, types of facilities, and number of employees. The content of hospital and clinic advertising may now include representations as to the capabilities and methods of the provider. The 6-3 majority decision reasoned that "direct-to-consumer advertising could empower the patient to learn more about medical options if they are based on accurate information. It could also result in a healthy competition between medical institutes that could benefit the quality of health-care services eventually." The minority opinion cautioned against the potential for providers to exaggerate and distort their capabilities in order to increase earnings. The Korean Medical Association [official website, in Korean] supports the decision, but other civic groups have expressed concerns similar to the dissent. The Korea Times has local coverage.

 

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