AMA calls for ban on all drug commercials

It appears that someone at the AMA has finally had a moment of clarity! The influential group of doctors has called for a ban on the direct-to-consumer advertising we are all so (often) painfully aware of. They feel the marketing budgets spent on advertising are not only driving up the cost of pharmaceuticals but causing patients to demand treatments that are more costly and may not necessarily be the best option for them.

According to the article,”…drugmakers’ spending on advertising has shot up 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion.” However, there have been a series of court decisions determining that ads can’t be totally banned as they are protected speech.

The AMA hasn’t yet decided how they would accomplish their goal given this issue but U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who wants to cut down on direct-to-consumer advertising as well, has another idea; her plan would, “prevent companies from deducting what they spend on direct-to-consumer ads from their tax bills.” Currently, The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow the direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

You may not be surprised to find out that the trade group for the US pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA, isn’t pleased about this notion. They feel the ads only increase a consumers awareness of available treatments for diseases, including potentially undiagnosed conditions. It seems the American people agree. In a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis, 52 percent of Americans believe the current ads do not have enough information about risk and 46 percent say there’s a lack of information about benefits in the ads. It seems we have conditioned ourselves to want to need pills.

“Providing scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options is the goal of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising about prescription medicines,” PhRMA spokesman Tina Stow said in an email.

What would be best for us would be to have a majority of physicians prescribing diet and exercise as the first line of defense. If we could do that we might actually get somewhere and countless people wouldn’t need or even care about dosing themselves with the medicine of big pharma.