AMA Pushes for Ban on TV Drug Ad

In November 2015, the American Medical Association voted in favor of banning direct-to-consumer TV advertising of drugs and medical devices. Now it is up to the Food and Drug Administration or Congress to decide whether or not to ban pharmaceutical advertising. AMA board chair-elect, Patrice A. Harris, believes that direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of drugs and medical devices inflates the demand for costly drugs and helps fuel escalating drug prices. The AMA also believes that DTC advertising is responsible for pushing consumers to seek unneeded drugs from their doctor or health care provider.

Yet, the medicinal industry disagrees with the AMA's warning. They believe that these advertisements offer consumers scientifically correct information about the care and the treatment options that are available to them. They believe that these ads also lead to important doctor-patient conversations regarding medications and treatment for a variety of conditions. Patients are more likely to seek medical help and attention for problems that they realize there is a treatment for.

How Much Money is Spent on Direct to Consumer Advertising

Pharmaceutical companies have bought into DTC advertising in a BIG way. The American Medical Association reported a 30% increase in the money spent on DTC advertising in just the last 2 years. Now, pharmaceutical companies spend a total of $4,500,000,000 billion on DTC advertising campaigns. During this same time, prescription drug prices rose nearly 5%.

DTC Advertising Changed in 1997

Pharmaceutical companies were allowed to engage in some forms of DTC advertising for decades, but it wasn't until 1997 that big changes occurred. In 1997, after spending millions and millions lobbying Congress, the FDA suggested ways in which pharmaceutical advertisements could meet regulatory requirements. As long as the companies included information related to the major side effects and contraindications, TV ads were suddenly given a green light.

Immediately, pharmaceutical companies responded, and within a decade, the budget for DTC ads skyrocketed from $300 million to more than $3 billion. Now, ads for Viagra, Ambien, and even low testosterone drugs are seemingly unavoidable on TV.

Increased Transparency Needed for Drug Pricing

The AMA is also calling for an increase in the transparency in costs and drug pricing. The price of medications is skyrocketing and the AMA realizes that this increase in cost may mean that patients are unable to obtain the medications they need to treat their injury or illness. When this occurs, patient care is significantly compromised.

Currently, a Senate committee is investigating Turing and other pharmaceutical companies for massive increases in drug prices over the last year. Turing recently increased the price of Daraprim (a 62-year-old generic drug) from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill – virtually overnight. This hike was entirely profit driven with a complete disregard for the user of the drug. Turing acquired the rights to Daraprim, which is used to treat malaria and toxoplasmosis, in August. They immediately hiked the price by 5000% and made it a specialty drug, all in an attempt to increase profits.

Pharmaceutical companies must ensure that the drugs they manufacture and promote are safe and effective. Unfortunately, many of these companies rush their drugs through the fast track approval process – and some even push off-label use of their product to doctors and surgeons. When this occurs, consumers are the ones who suffer – sometimes suffering serious injury and even death.

National Dangerous Medical Product Lawyers

If you have sustained harm due to a drug or medical device, it is crucial you retain aggressive legal representation to take medical device manufacturers and large pharmaceutical companies to trial.

Our seasoned litigation attorneys believe in holding careless pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies liable for their actions. That is why we are ready to fight aggressively for all our harmed clients. To discuss your case, get in touch with the Philadelphia dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb Legaltoday at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or complete our Contact Form.