New rules launched for US DTC ads

09 March 2009

WASHINGTON, DC: The Advanced Medical Technology Association has issued a new set of guidelines aiming to insure that direct-to-consumer ads for medical devices in the US provide the "most accurate and meaningful information for patients."

According to the "guiding principles", which apply to broadcast, print and online ads, companies should use "consumer-friendly language appropriate for the intended audience", as well as presenting “risk information in a manner free from distraction."

Marketers should also make sure testimonials are "appropriately disclosed and substantiated and represent typical patient experience."

Furthermore, TV spots should also be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration to coincide with their broadcast release, and ads should be withdrawn if any new information demonstrates a "serious, previously unknown safety risk." 

Time also needs to be dedicated to "educating" healthcare professionals about products before ads are formally launched.

Marketing communications across the pharma industry have come under increasing political pressure in recent times, and Senator Herb Kohl said he would be "paying close attention" to how individual companies implement the new rules.

Data sourced from Washington Post; additional content by WARC staff