(a)Standard. The Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs (or delegatee) will waive or reduce the fees that would otherwise be charged if disclosure of the information meets both of the following tests:
(1) Is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government; and
(2) It is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. These two tests are explained in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
(b)Public interest. Disclosure of information satisfies the first test only if it furthers the specific public interest of being likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of Government operations or activities, regardless of any other public interest it may further. In analyzing this question, the Food and Drug Administration will consider the following factors:
(1) Whether the records to be disclosed pertain to the operations or activities of the Federal Government;
(2) Whether disclosure of the records would reveal any meaningful information about Government operations or activities that is not already public knowledge;
(3) Whether disclosure will advance the understanding of the general public as distinguished from a narrow segment of interested persons. Under this factor, the Food and Drug Administration may consider whether the requester is in a position to contribute to public understanding. For example, the Food and Drug Administration may consider whether the requester has such knowledge or expertise as may be necessary to understand the information, and whether the requester's intended use of the information would be likely to disseminate the information to the public. An unsupported claim to be doing research for a book or article does not demonstrate that likelihood, while such a claim by a representative of the news media is better evidence; and
(4) Whether the contribution to public understanding will be a significant one, i.e., will the public's understanding of the Government's operations be substantially greater as a result of the disclosure.
(c)Not primarily in the requester's commercial interest. If disclosure passes the test of furthering the specific public interest described in paragraph (b) of this section, the Food and Drug Administration will determine whether disclosure also furthers the requester's commercial interest and, if so, whether this effect outweighs the advancement of that public interest. In applying this second test, the Food and Drug Administration will consider the following factors:
(1) Whether disclosure would further a commercial interest of the requester, or of someone on whose behalf the requester is acting. Commercial interests include interests relating to business, trade, and profit. Both profit and nonprofit-making corporations have commercial interests, as well as individuals, unions, and other associations. The interest of a representative of the news media in using the information for news dissemination purposes will not be considered a commercial interest.
(2) If disclosure would further a commercial interest of the requester, whether that effect outweighs the advancement of the public interest as defined in paragraph (b) of this section.
(d)Deciding between waiver and reduction. If the disclosure of the information requested passes both tests described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the Food and Drug Administration will normally waive fees. However, in some cases the Food and Drug Administration may decide only to reduce the fees. For example, the Food and Drug Administration may do this when disclosure of some but not all of the requested records passes the tests.
(e)Procedure for requesting a waiver or reduction. A requester must request a waiver or reduction of fees at the same time as the request for records. The requester should explain why a waiver or reduction is proper under the factors set forth in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section. Only the Associate Commissioner for Public Affairs may make the decision whether to waive or reduce the fees. If the Food and Drug Administration does not completely grant the request for a waiver or reduction, the denial letter will designate a review official. The requester may appeal the denial to that official. The appeal letter should address reasons for the Associate Commissioner's decision that are set forth in the denial letter.