A New Prescription to Balance Secrecy and Disclosure in Drug-Approval Processes

To obtain approval to market a drug, a manufacturer must disclose significant amounts of research data to the government agency that oversees the approval process. The data often include information that could help advance scientific progress, and are therefore of great value. But current laws in both the United States and Europe give secrecy great weight. This Article proposes an obligatory sealed-bid auction of the sensitive information based on the experience with similar auctions in mergers and acquisitions, to balance manufacturers’ interest in secrecy and the public interest in disclosure.