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AMA Calls for Ban on Prescription Advertising

If the American Medical Association (AMA) gets its way, U.S. consumers may no longer be barraged with pharmaceutical advertisements when watching their favorite television shows. The widely respected medical group is calling for a ban on marketing prescription drugs and medical devices directly to patients.

“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

The AMA notes that New Zealand is the only other country in the world that authorizes direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medications. In the United States, the amount of money that drug makers spend on advertising has increased by 30 percent in the last two years to a staggering $4.5 billion.

Pharmaceutical ads are not only prevalent, but they can also be misleading. A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revealed that 52 percent of Americans believe direct-to-consumer drug marketing does not provide sufficient information about risks. Another 46 percent believe that pharmaceutical ads don’t provide enough information about benefits.

The AMA is also proposing measures to address skyrocketing drug prices, which increased five percent in 2015 alone. The new policy calls for creating a physician task force and launching an advocacy campaign to promote prescription drug affordability by demanding choice and competition in the pharmaceutical industry, and greater transparency in prescription drug prices and costs.

“Physicians strive to provide the best possible care to their patients, but increases in drug prices can impact the ability of physicians to offer their patients the best drug treatments,” said Dr. Harris. “Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patient’s health plan. In a worst-case scenario, patients forego necessary treatments when drugs are too expensive.”

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to dangerous and defective drug or medical device, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego product liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.