Friday, September 21, 2007
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Media Industry Helped Drug Firms Fight Ad Restraints, by Anna Wilde Mathews and Stephanie Kang. Here's an excerpt:
When the Democratic-led Congress started debating a big Food and Drug Administration bill earlier this year, pharmaceutical companies worried that it would sharply restrict one of their most powerful sales-boosting tools -- drug ads.
But in the final bill, which passed the House overwhelmingly on Wednesday and the Senate last night, such marketing is largely spared. One major reason: the drug industry found powerful allies among media and advertising firms who were determined to protect one of their biggest and fastest-growing advertising categories.
The toughest drug-ad restriction in early drafts of the bill gave the FDA authority to block a drug company from advertising a medication that carried serious safety concerns. That was left on the cutting-room floor. The FDA will get new power to require drug companies to submit TV ads for review before they run, but it can only recommend changes, not require them. The bill lets the agency levy fines for false and misleading ads.