Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ban direct-to-consumer advertising of presciption drugs

We need legislation that will ban direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

I agree that consumers should have adequate information about medical options, but direct-to-consumer advertising cannot feasibly provide that information. Instead, such advertising may result in patients shopping around for a doctor who is willing prescribe a drug which the patient saw advertised, but which may not be the best option for that patient.

By banning direct-to-consumer advertising, patients will be more likely to get the information they need from the appropriate professionals: physicians and pharmacists. A ban on direct-to-consumer advertising would force drug manufacturers and distributors to concentrate their advertising where it belongs -- on physicians.

This brings up a related issue which should be included in this legislation. Physicians should be required to attend semi-annual refresher training conferences to stay on top of new treatments, including drugs. This would be a good time for drug manufacturers to "advertise" to the appropriate audience.

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