Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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DTC Advertising Moratorium Idea Resurrected in Congress

DTC Advertising Moratorium Idea Resurrected in Congress | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
US Rep. Rosa DeLauro has introduced a bill calling for a three-year moratorium on advertising newly approved prescription drugs directly to consumers.


The bill, known as the Responsibility in Drug Advertising Act, would also prohibit ads from running after the three-year moratorium if the Department of Health and Human Services determines the drug generated “significant” side effects based on studies, scientific literature, and other data. It was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).


The legislation, which is designed to amend the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, is only the latest effort to squelch direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines. Three months ago, the American Medical Association called for an outright ban on this form of promotion (here).


Like the AMA, DeLauro also argued that advertising can inflate health care costs if consumers are prompted to seek newer, higher-priced medicines that drug makers may advertise to quickly trigger sales.

Pharma Guy's insight:

This is not the first time a DTC moratorium was suggested. 

Back in 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is chartered by Congress to advise the government on scientific and health policy issues, issued a report recommending a 2-year moratorium on DTC for new drugs. For more on that, read “IOM Report Calls for DTC Moratorium”; http://bit.ly/IOMmoratorium

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Former FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Director Supports 2-Year DTC Ad Moratorium

Former FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Director Supports 2-Year DTC Ad Moratorium | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Watching television these days means sitting through ads for drugs to ease pain, induce sleep, overcome sexual dysfunction, alleviate depression, ease urinary tract symptoms and more. Some patients say the ads are helpful, but many doctors warn that they are often misleading.

The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates voted this monthin favor of a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices. Its officers argued that such advertising “inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”Only two nations in the world, the United States and New Zealand, allow consumer drug ads.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation published in late October found that a whopping 89 percent of the public favors requiring the Food and Drug Administration to review prescription-drug ads for accuracy before they are broadcast. The F.D.A. currently does little to crack down on them, possibly fearing it would violate court rulings protecting commercial free-speech rights. It has never imposed civil fines on a company for a misleading ad or promotion.

Solutions other than an outright ban are being discussed, like proposals to tax the ads, which the courts might deem an infringement on commercial free speech. Another idea is to use public money to pay for evaluations by expert groups of the best ways to treat various conditions, which might emphasize dietary changes or exercise rather than drugs. That would provide unbiased information to counter the drug company ads. Or perhaps a television control device could allow consumers to block drug ads, if they want.

David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown and former director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, believes Congress should ban direct-to-consumer advertising for two years after a drug has been approved and put on the market. That would allow a brief period for adverse effects to be observed and might pass constitutional muster as a limited restriction to protect public health. Meanwhile, consumers need to be deeply skeptical of what they hear and read from drug companies.

Pharma Guy's insight:

At one time it was thought that  PhRMA's DTC Guidelines would include a DTC moratorium. The only issue was about the exact length of the moratorium -- whether it should be 6 months, one year, or longer. See http://bit.ly/1MIbIHI 


What I propose is an experiment. Let's eliminate TV broadcast DTC advertising altogether for one year, but keep print and Internet-based DTC advertising. That is, no broadcast DTC for ANY drug, new or old.

Drug companies could pocket the money saved or spend it on print and Web promotions, which are not a target of DTC critics in Congress and elsewhere.

What do you think would happen?

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