Washington Focus

Prescription drug advertising: in the bull's eye again

Daniel L. Jaffe

ANA fought a long and hard battle to remove outdated and counterproductive restrictions on prescription drug advertising to consumers. For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required so much disclosure in direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising that the result was a de facto ban on the use of the broadcast media. The regulations also ensured that this type of advertising was of little use to consumers.

These restrictions, ANA pointed out, not only violated constitutional free speech protections, but also weakened the health care system by failing to provide the public with valuable health information in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Therefore, we were heartened when the FDA announced, on a trial basis, a major breakthrough by lifting some key limitations on DTC advertising on broadcast media. The FDA also announced it would re-examine its advertising rules for the print media.