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GOVERNMENT TO REIN-IN DRUG COMPANIES' CONSUMER MAILINGS

News, 01 June 1998

CONCERNED THAT CONSUMERS are increasingly likely to be mass-mailed by pharmaceutical companies urging them to ask their doctors for the latest 'wonder drug', ministers are seeking to impose stringent restrictions, either through legislation or via a watertight code of practice. Such a code could emulate the tobacco ad code, with a compulsory 'health warning' about the efficacy of drugs and advice that patients should be guided by their GPs. Said a government source: 'With advances in medicine this is going to be a very real problem. We are worried that vulnerable people will be targeted and pressured into demanding the latest products.'Although ministers claim that their main aim is to protect patients, they also have an eye firmly fixed on the soaring NHS drugs budget.