More Insights Association members filed comments yesterday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of the marketing research and analytics industry.

In response to a petition by M3 USA (another Insights Association member) seeking clarity from the FCC that faxed invitations to participate in marketing research studies should not be misconstrued as "advertising" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Jerry Arbittier (SHC Universal) filed comments telling the FCC that "applying TCPA rules to this type of faxing" actually "hurts consumers."

Fax communications with "healthcare professionals for the purpose of marketing research is not advertising," Arbittier said. "The company doing the research is never identified in the research so how can it be termed advertising. Typically, the purpose of the research is to uncover the degree of benefit that physicians feel a new drug will provide. This allows the pharmaceutical company to direct priorities properly and not waste efforts on drugs that have limited benefit. It is an efficient modality to get the best drugs to the consumer."

Ultimately, as J.D. Power explained in detail to the FCC, we urgently need "clear guidance" from the FCC, particularly as a "deluge" of "abusive" TCPA litigation chills "legitimate survey work — work which is designed to benefit both businesses and consumers. If the simplistic view of the profit motive adopted by the Second Circuit and peddled cynically by the plaintiff’s bar are allowed to become the starting point in any TCPA litigation, an already out-of-control situation will be made even worse."

Comments to the FCC on the M3 petition are due by April 27 and we still need a few minutes of your time to support the industry. Comments can be submitted at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express , with “02-278” in the field for “Proceeding(s)” and your name in the field for "Name(s) of Filer(s)." Comments need not be lengthy or extensive; the mere submittal of some form of support itself has tremendous value. See some examples from other members, then please offer your own.