The American Medical Association (AMA) is urging the federal government to ban drug ads that doctors warn are inflating the demand for costly treatments and driving up prices nationwide.
Hundreds of physicians voted in support of an advertising ban at the group’s annual meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday. Under the policy, drug companies in the U.S. would no longer be allowed to promote products directly to consumers, a type of marketing that is banned in all other countries except New Zealand.
Dr. Patrice Harris, the group’s newly elected board chairwoman, said in a statement that the advertising “inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”
The AMA is wading into the drug-pricing debate at a time when the majority of voters now say they care more about drug prices than almost any other issue.
The group says it will also launch an advocacy campaign on drug affordability “by demanding choice and competition in the pharmaceutical industry and greater transparency.”
“If there is greater understanding of the factors that contribute to prescription drug pricing, including the research, development, manufacturing, marketing and advertising costs borne by pharmaceutical companies, then the marketplace can react appropriately,” the AMA wrote in a statement.