Foreign Publications Can Be Public Disclosures in Certain Circumstances

 By: Joel Androphy, Rachel Grier, and Scott Braden

Whistleblowers should be mindful that disclosures in foreign periodicals can be considered public if the periodicals are regularly read by an international community. In a recent opinion, a U.S. District Court decided that an article in a foreign scientific journal was a public disclosure, given the international nature of the scientific community. The court reasoned that the foreign publication of a scientific article does not make it “any less accessible to the American public than if it were published in a scientific journal located in the United States.  The court also clarified that not all foreign publications are public disclosures, such as an ordinary article in a Greek newspaper. In these instances, there is no public disclosure when an article is published in a different language in a foreign publication not regularly read by an international community. The case is USA ex rel. Radcliffe v. Purdue Pharma L.P., a court in the Western District of Virginia.

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