New US Bill Proposes $10m Fine for Misleading Drug Ads

27 May 2002

US pharmaceutical firms could face fines of up to $10 million (€10.9m; £6.9m) for misleading ads should new legislation introduced by two lawmakers in the House of Representatives become law.

The bill is championed by congressmen Tom Allen (Democrat, Maine) and Marion Berry (Democrat, Arkansas), who argue that the Food and Drug Administration needs greater powers greater than the issue of warnings to regulate drug ads.

“Rampant direct-to-consumer drug advertising is one of the forces driving doctors to write more prescriptions,” fumed Allen. “People are being bombarded with ads, yet they have little information that one drug is more effective than another.”

The bill’s solution is to give the FDA the power to fine drug companies $10m if they fail to rectify misleading ads within six months of receiving a warning.

Also contained in the legislation is a $25m increase in the FDA’s yearly budget to fund investigations into whether claims made by drug ads can be justified. This would involve comparison of a medication’s effectiveness and cost with that of previous drugs.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff