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FCC Issues Declaratory Ruling on Pharmaceutical Trial Recruitment Calls

Two laboratory scientists examine pharmaceutical products

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 12:36

The Federal Communications Communication (FCC) granted a petition for a Declaratory Ruling relating to an exemption from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for non-marketing calls aiming to recruit participants for pharmaceutical trials. The petition was originally filed by Acurian, Inc. in 2014.

The ruling relates to an exemption from the TCPA’s restrictions against “making an artificial or prerecorded voice message call to any residential telephone line without the consumer’s prior express consent.” The FCC determined that Acurian’s calls, as they described them in the petition, meet the conditions for the law’s exemption “from the prior-express-consent requirement [for] prerecorded calls that are not made for a commercial purpose and those made for a commercial purpose but that do not include or introduce an advertisement or constitute telemarketing.”

Notably, the FCC drew on their own recent ruling about numerical limits on exempt calls. In the Acurian Declaratory Ruling, the FCC writes “that an artificial or prerecorded voice message call to a residential telephone line seeking a consumer’s participation in a clinical pharmaceutical trial but not including any advertising or telemarketing is exempt from the TCPA’s prior-express-written-consent requirement as long as the caller makes no more than three such calls within any consecutive 30-day period and allows the called party to opt out of future calls.”