The American Medical Association this week called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees prescription drug advertising, to ban direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), citing its effect on rising pharmaceutical prices.At the Interim Meeting of the AMA’s House of Delegates in Atlanta, earlier this week, delegates who voted for the resolution said that although DTCA may increase awareness about diseases and drugs to treat them and thereby prompt some patients to visit a physician, the ultimate goal of DTCA is to drive demand for a product, which may affect the overall cost of drugs. A number of other resolutions and reports at the meeting were devoted to the issue of escalating drug prices.
Psychiatrist and AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice Harris, M.D., M.A. (pictured left), said the vote in support of a ban on DTCA reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate,” she said. “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.”
The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow DCTA of prescription drugs.
The AMA, in a statement about the vote, cited market research by the firm Kantar Media showing that advertising dollars spent by drug makers have increased by 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion.
For more information about the resolution, see an upcoming edition of Psychiatric News. For related information on DTCA, see the Psychiatric News article “Some Worry Drug Companies Will Exploit New Media.”
(Image: Ted Grudzinski/AMA)