November 30, 2015
The United States is one of two countries in the world that allows direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices. The other country…New Zealand. In the US, the pharmaceutical industry has an advertising budget of about $4.5 billion a year, a number which the AMA points out represents a 30% increase over the past two years. The increase in spending is rubbing the AMA the wrong way. This past week, the organization called for a complete ban on DTC advertising, claiming that the massive advertising budget of the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to rising drug prices and that the ads inflate demand for the newest and most expensive drugs. This move, albeit powerless unless Congress or the FDA back it, is particularly intriguing. Why? Because the AMA is often criticized for its anti-reform policy agenda and is largely funded by these very companies they are calling out.