A new bill was just introduced into the House of Representatives that would protect seniors, prevent drug manufacturers from obscuring dangerous side effects of their prescription drugs in their advertisements, and help consumers make informed decisions.
The United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that permit direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising — and there are serious consumer safety concerns around the proliferation of these ads.
Frequently, the ads supplant the knowledge and judgment of physicians in determining whether a drug is most suitable for a particular medical condition. Studies have shown that an ad’s use of visuals when discussing the side effects of a drug distracts American consumers from the risks.
To address these concerns, U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-Pa.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Katie Porter (D-Calif), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) (with whom TSCL is working in support of her bill H.R. 82, The Social Security Fairness Act) introduced the Banning Misleading Drug Ads Act.
This new legislation would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize a 15-year-old proposed rule clarifying that drug ads must include a statement related to side effects, contraindications, and effectiveness — while also prohibiting distractions from neutral information. If enacted, this rule would prevent advertisements from including “distracting representations” — including statements, text, images, or sounds — that detract from the communication of the major statement.
TSCL has endorsed this legislation. TSCL National Chairman Richard Delaney released this statement in support of the bill:
“An estimated 65 million Medicare beneficiaries rely on Congress to ensure patient safety and protect consumers from misleading advertising tactics by prescription drug manufacturers. We support legislation that helps keep ads honest by endorsing the Banning Misleading Drug Ads Act of 2022.”