AMA Proposes Drug Ad Moratorium

Considering all the heat the mega-drugmakers have been feeling from Congress as of late, due partly to the obscene amounts of cash it spends on direct-to-consumer advertising, the American Medical Association (ADA) has asked the FDA to impose an unspecified moratorium on new drug ads.

Specifically, the ADA wants a not-as-yet nailed down timeframe between the time a drug is approved by the FDA and the drugmaker begins its consumer ad campaign, particularly on TV, a decision reached by the organization's House of Delegates yesterday during the late stages of their annual meeting.

During the meeting, AMA members were upset about TV ads using actors instead of physicians whose sales pitches -- particularly one produced by Merck for its cholesterol drug Zetia -- made those drugs appear much more effective than they really were, according to this excellent Chicago Tribune story.

The sad part about all this: The FDA doesn't believe it has the authority to enforce a drug ad delay for constitutional reasons, yet it employs a staff of only 40 professionals responsible for monitoring more than 30,000 print and broadcast ads, sales brochures and Web sites produced in America.

The evidence is clear, when it comes to protecting your family from the harm drugs can do to their health, folks, you're on your own.

Chicago Tribune June 15, 2006 Registration Required

MSNBC June 14, 2006

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