DTC Drug Ads: A Common Sense Solution

February 10, 2011

DTC drug ads common sense approach

Should Congress Pass New Legislation on DTC Drug Ads?

One of the most controversial developments in the pharmaceutical industry in recent years was the approval of direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads that began popping up in 1997. Multi-colored butterflies helping promote sleeping pills didn’t seem to many to be in the best interests of public health. Drug companies have responded by saying that the DTC drug ads helped with patient education. Critics such as Marcia Angell, the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, has sharply disputed the drug companies claim about DTC ads. Her book, “The Truth About Drug Companies” is a must read for people interested in the pharmaceutical industry.

In todays New York Times we have an op-ed article that proposes what to me is a common sense solution. Ian D. Spatz, a former pharmaceutical company executive, writes that DTC ads also hurt drug companies and a solution to the issue is necessary. He proposes that Congress pass legislation that would alter the content and intent of DTC drug ads:

A more effective way to limit the ads would be for Congress to pass legislation that would allow drug companies to cooperate with one another, and with physician and patient organizations, to develop joint ad campaigns that are specific to certain diseases and conditions but not to any particular drug. These ads would inform consumers about the disease; its treatment options, including pharmaceuticals; and how to gain further information not biased toward any particular brand.”

An interesting approach and one, that I think, should be considered.

NY Times: Better Drug Ads, Fewer Side Effects

The Truth About Drug Companies, by Marcia Angell

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On the Blogroll: Diabetes Self Management, well organized and informative

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MHRA and Clinical Trials– Read about the Academy of Medical Research Report by Nick Taylor in Outsourcing-Pharma


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