HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tobacco Companies Challenge FDA Graphic Warnings

Not surprisingly, especially after the Supreme Court's decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health, major tobacco companies have challenged the FDA's new graphic warnings for cigarette packs. But even with the Court's heightened scrutiny for regulations of commercial speech, the FDA should prevail. The Court has clearly distinguished between restrictions of speech and mandatory disclosures that are designed to ensure that the public is not misled. Indeed, just last year, in Milavetzthe Court upheld required disclosures for professionals providing consumer assistance with bankruptcy proceedings. Pharmaceutical manufacturers still must disclose side effects of their drugs after Sorrell, and tobacco companies will have to provide adequate warnings about the risks of cigarette smoking.

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