AMA: Ban direct-to-consumer Rx advertising

Posted on: November 18, 2015 3:00 pm

Responding to the billions of advertising dollars being spent to promote prescription products, physicians at the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) on November 17 adopted new policy aimed at driving solutions to make prescription drugs more affordable. Physicians cited concerns that a growing proliferation of ads is driving demand for expensive treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. said, “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world 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.

Prevention professionals have cited direct-to-consumer advertising as changing norms around prescription drug usage,  increasing consumers' reliance on prescribed medications as the predominant -- and sometimes sole -- approach to addressing medical concerns and contributing to the prevalence of medication use, misuse and abuse.