Attempts in the Senate to restrain the amount pharmaceutical companies spend on direct-to-consumer marketing may be dropped.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (Democrat, Michigan) was considering adding an amendment to Medicare legislation which would restrict the amount drugs firms can deduct from their tax bill for marketing expenses to no more than the amount they deduct for research.

Stabenow is concerned that drugs companies are pouring more cash into advertising than into R&D. Indeed, a new study by the Families Today group found that marketing and administration accounted for 250% more expenditure than research among large pharmaceutical firms.

As well as facing inevitable opposition from the ad industry, her plans have been criticised for setting a precedent about treating certain expenses differently in the tax code.

The senator is now expected to put forward the amendment to make her point but withdraw it before the legislation is voted on.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff