American Medical Association wants to ban ads for drugs

The American Medical Association is calling for a ban on advertising of prescription drugs to patients, saying “a growing proliferation of ads is driving demand for expensive
treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly
alternatives.”

The vote by the nation’s leading organization for physicians also reflects “the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug
prices,” AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris said.
“Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more
expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

An AMA news release said the U.S. and New Zealand are the only two nations that allow “direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.
Advertising dollars spent by drug makers have increased by 30 percent in
the last two years to $4.5 billion, according to the market research
firm Kantar Media.”

The advertising ban was suggested as part of a policy package aimed at making prescription drugs more affordable. “The AMA will encourage actions by federal regulators to limit
anticompetitive behavior by pharmaceutical companies attempting to
reduce competition from generic manufacturers through manipulation of
patent protections and abuse of regulatory exclusivity incentives,” it said. “The AMA will also monitor pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions, as well as the impact of such actions on drug prices.”

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