OMG! Dr. George Lundberg, Editor-at-Large for Medscape, Agrees DTC Ads Should be Banned! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

"Oh my God," said Lundberg, "there it was, an unexpected bombshell."

Just like that, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted to ban direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription products and some medical devices. The original resolution, brought by the Hospital Medical Staff section only to study DTC, suddenly snowballed into a resolution to ban it.

When politics reaches a tipping point, movement can be at lightning speed. The American public and its physicians are sick of egregious drug price gouging and ubiquitous, misleading DTC ads that drive drug use and costs way up. Our AMA actually did something that the great majority of American physicians can support. Hooray!

Will it have an effect?

Advertising of pharmaceutical products to the public unequivocally influences drug prescribing and use. Advertising of prescription drugs to physicians unequivocally influences drug prescribing and use.

Could the FDA itself prohibit DTC of prescription drugs? It could try, but Big Money from Big Pharma would raise holy hell with Congress and through the courts.

There is a major American right called freedom of speech and a relatively new factor called "freedom of commercial speech," also known as advertising. You know that the current US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people and that money may speak as people, so don't hold your breath.

This new AMA policy is only one step, but it is an important step, if the AMA executive hierarchy decides to put its lobbying clout behind its very popular new policy. This could be fun to watch.