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The Florida Senate

2018 Florida Statutes

Prohibition of deceptive marketing practices.
F.S. 397.55
397.55 Prohibition of deceptive marketing practices.
(1) The Legislature recognizes that consumers of substance abuse treatment have disabling conditions and that such consumers and their families are vulnerable and at risk of being easily victimized by fraudulent marketing practices that adversely impact the delivery of health care. To protect the health, safety, and welfare of this vulnerable population, a service provider, an operator of a recovery residence, or a third party who provides any form of advertising or marketing services to a service provider or an operator of a recovery residence may not engage in any of the following marketing practices:
(a) Making a false or misleading statement or providing false or misleading information about the provider’s or operator’s or third party’s products, goods, services, or geographical locations in its marketing, advertising materials, or media or on its website.
(b) Including on its website false information or electronic links, coding, or activation that provides false information or that surreptitiously directs the reader to another website.
(c) Conduct prohibited by s. 817.505.
(d) Entering into a contract with a marketing provider who agrees to generate referrals or leads for the placement of patients with a service provider or in a recovery residence through a call center or a web-based presence, unless the service provider or the operator of the recovery residence discloses the following to the prospective patient so that the patient can make an informed health care decision:
1. Information about the specific licensed service providers or recovery residences that are represented by the marketing provider and pay a fee to the marketing provider, including the identity of such service providers or recovery residences; and
2. Clear and concise instructions that allow the prospective patient to easily access lists of licensed service providers and recovery residences on the department website.
(2) In addition to any other punishment authorized by law, a person or entity that knowingly and willfully violates paragraph (1)(a), paragraph (1)(b), or paragraph (1)(d) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A violation of paragraph (1)(c) is a violation of the prohibition on patient brokering and may subject the party committing the violation to criminal penalties under s. 817.505.
History.s. 17, ch. 2017-173.