AMA Asks for Ban on Drug Advertising to Consumers

The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a ban on advertising for prescription drugs directed at consumers.

The organization contends that the ads encourage patients to demand expensive treatments that might not be appropriate over less costly ones that are also effective. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

Previously, a series of court decisions found that the ads cannot be banned outright because they are a form of commercial speech protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The AMA said spending by pharmaceutical companies on advertising has shot up 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion.

Responding to the AMA, PhRMA, the largest U.S. trade group for the pharmaceutical industry, said the ads increase consumer awareness of available treatments for diseases, including undiagnosed conditions.

This Week's Slice of History: Smoking Banned on Planes: Nov. 21, 1989

Sourced from: Reuters, U.S. doctor group calls for ban on drug advertising to consumers