Frist Expected To Call for Moratorium on Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements for New Medications
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Friday plans to call for a moratorium on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs that have been on the market less than two years, USA Today reports. Frist also plans to request a Government Accountability Office study to examine how prescription drug ads affect the treatment of patients.
In a speech scheduled for Friday, Frist is expected to say such ads contribute to rising prescription drug costs and create "artificial demand." Frist also is expected to say such ads increase overall health care costs, according to his prepared remarks.
In addition, Frist plans to call for more resources to review promotional materials for prescription drugs. Currently, FDA has a 40-person staff that is responsible for reviewing more than 30,000 pieces of marketing materials annually, USA Today reports.
According to USA Today, the GAO report that Frist will request "could be used as the basis for legislation to impose federal restrictions if Frist is not satisfied with the industry's voluntary measures" to control DTC prescription drug ads.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has promised to create an advertising code of conduct for the drug industry. PhRMA President and former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) called prescription drug advertising a "free-speech issue" but added that some changes are appropriate (Kiely, USA Today, 6/1).