Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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May 09, 2006

Legislation Proposed to Ban Drug Advertising in U.S.

"The U.S. is out of step with the rest of the world in allowing prescription drugs to be advertised to consumers", says Vera Hassner Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection. "A coalition of non-profit organizations has drafted legislation to ban direct to consumer advertising because the ads do not promote public health, they increase the cost of drugs and the number of unnecessary prescriptions, which is expensive to taxpayers, and can be harmful or deadly to patients.

According to this article, the USA and New Zealand actually are the only industrialized nations to allow direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceutical medicines, and New Zealand is already mulling a ban.

Far from helping us be more healthy, the ads actually allow drug makers to increase sales of often useless and - even worse - dangerous drugs and as a result, pharmaceutical industry has boomed while the health of Americans is in a deplorable state, with even the survival rate of newborns approaching third world levels.


A coalition is being built to support the legislation, which calls for a stop to public drug advertising. The alert comes from Leonore Tiefer, Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

You can weigh in on this issue, going to

From: Leonore Tiefer
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006
Subject: Legislation to ban DTCA in U.S.


Commercial Alert, the National Women's Health Network and Physicians for a National Health Program are building a national coalition in support of legislation to ban direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising in the United States.

The text of the proposed bill ("Public Health Protection Act") is attached.

For more information about Commercial Alert's work against DTC prescription drug advertising, see their web page on DTC ads,
Last year, more than 200 medical school professors endorsed their statement calling for an end to DTC prescription drug advertising.

They are looking for U.S.-based organizations to endorse the legislation.
Please email the name of your organization to Marnie Glickman.

Leonore Tiefer, Ph.D.
Clinical Assoc. Professor, Psychiatry
NYU School of Medicine
163 Third Ave. #183
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-533-2774


Public Health Protection Act

We call on Congress to enact the Public Health Protection Act to prohibit
direct-to-consumer marketing of prescription drugs.

In 2004, pharmaceutical companies spent more than $4 billion in advertising for prescription drugs. This advertising does not promote public health. It increases the
cost of drugs and the number of unnecessary prescriptions, which is expensive to taxpayers, and can be harmful or deadly to patients.

Provision 1:
Direct-to-consumer advertisements of prescription drugs are prohibited, including "reminder advertisements," and "help-seeking advertisements" that direct people to
websites that are intended to promote the sale of particular prescription drugs. An exception is created for print advertising that presents only the names and prices of
prescription drugs, or informs consumers that certain prescription drugs are available at a certain location. Ads may not use emotive imagery that is not primarily educational.

Provision 2:
If provision 1 is held unconstitutional, the following provisions will immediately become effective:

a. Direct-to-consumer advertisements for a prescription drug shall include additional warnings appropriate to the drug to inform consumers that
(1) this drug was approved based on testing that included fewer than [typically 3000] people, and it may be dangerous to your health in ways that this limited research has not yet revealed; and,
(2) the Food and Drug Administration does not certify that this drug is more effective, safer or cheaper than other drugs in its class.

b. Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs shall not be tax deductible.

c. Pharmaceutical companies shall be subject to a 3% windfall profits tax, which shall be dedicated to a fund, controlled by the National Institutes of Health, for conducting studies on comparative benefits of drugs (also compared to nonpharmaceutical
interventions) and a mechanism for publicly disseminating those results, including academic detailing and advertising.

If any portion of provision 2 is held to be unconstitutional, the other provisions shall not be affected.

Action Coalition for Media Education
Commercial Alert
Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans
Essential Action
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
Just Health Care
Maine Council of Senior Citizens-Alliance for Retired Americans (MCSC-ARA)
Maryland NOW
National Women's Health Network
New View Campaign for Women's Sexual Problems (
Pennsylvanians United for Reform in Health Care (PURe-HC)
Pennsylvanians United for Single Payer Healthcare (PUSH)
Physicians for a National Health Program
Prescription Access Litigation Project

See also:

Tell Congress: Stop Prescription Drug Ads
Each year, drug executives spend $4 billion on prescription drug ads for pills they say will make you feel happier, sleep better and improve your sex life. The ads are not educational, and do not promote public health. They can be extremely dangerous, as the Vioxx tragedy shows. The Public Health Protection Act will stop all direct-to-consumer drug ads. Thirty-nine organizations have endorsed this legislation. Tell your Members of Congress to introduce the Public Health Protection Act. Take action now.

Armed with New Vaccines, Drug Makers Target Teenagers
The fact is, treatments that are proven safe and effective do not need aggressive marketing--word quickly spreads about their demonstrable efficacy convincing doctors to prescribe such medicines--manufacturers don't invest money to market antibiotics--they are a proven commodity. Drug and vaccine manufacturers invest big bucks mostly (if not entirely) to advertise ineffective (or marginally effective, often unsafe) drugs and vaccines. They advertise most aggressively for the first two years before the lack of efficacy and adverse effects become obvious.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Tuesday May 9 2006
updated on Thursday December 9 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Drug Advertising Not Based on Facts
An investigation of the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine, a private independent research institute in Cologne, has come to the conclusion that advertising of drugs is sorely lacking in scientific backup. With drug companies spending billions for promotion of their products, one wonders why they can't even get the science right. Unless of course ... the science is hard to get by because their remedies don't work too well. For sure... [read more]
March 31, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Consumer Drug Advertising Challenged - Ads Emphasise Sickness Not Prevention
Are direct-to-consumer adverts for pharmaceutical drugs turning the US into a nation of hypochondriacs? Spyros Andreopoulos, who is director emeritus of the Office of Communication and Public Affairs at Stanford University Medical Center, certainly seems to think so. Interestingly, the United States are, along with New Zealand, unique in the world for allowing such direct advertising and it appears that the U.S., with only 5 % of the world's population,... [read more]
November 29, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Big Pharma Indicted By UK Parliamentary Health Committee
A recent report (pdf file available here) of the UK House of Commons Health Committee sharply criticizes what has by others been called the pharmaceutical business with disease and has been recognized as a leading cause of death in the U.S. In the in the report's summary, the Committee puts its finger on the historical reason why it could come this far. The Department of Health has for too long... [read more]
April 10, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger

Medical system is leading cause of death and injury in US
Shocking statistical evidence is cited by Gary Null PhD, Caroly Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD and Dorothy Smith PhD in their recent paper Death by Medicine - October 2003, released by the Nutrition Institute of America. "A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital,... [read more]
October 29, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

US Health System Needs Radical Overhaul: New York Times
25 October 2004 - In last Sunday's New York Times, editors Donald Barlett and James Steele called for a radical overhaul of the US health system. While the calamitous failure of pharmaceutical suppliers to come up with a sufficient quantity of flu vaccine provides the immediate backdrop for the article, the discussion goes much deeper. It is really about why the US health system has dismally failed to deliver on... [read more]
October 25, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




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