Atlanta, GA — The value debate that’s been raging in headlines and exam rooms around the country found center stage at the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association this week. Doctors there discussed policies aimed at making prescription drugs more affordable. They ultimately created a resolution to ban DTC advertising.
AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., explained, “Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices. Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”
Ultimately, only the Food and Drug Administration or Congress could mandate a ban, but the AMA did commit significant resources to actively advocating for the issue.
A recent Kaiser tracking poll found many Americans (6:10) are also concerned about the amount of money that pharmaceutical companies invest in advertising their drugs. But, most (51%) agreed that drug advertising is mostly a good thing. In fact, 3:10 have talked to their doctors about a product they saw advertised.
The poll also points out some areas where pharmaceutical advertisers could go farther to make their advertising dollars more valuable as well as dispel some key myths that may be contributing negatively to their image. For example, consumers clearly believe that ads could be more informative on what side effects to really expect, how effective the treatment is, and the cost of the drug:
And, they mistakenly believe that pharmaceutical companies have significant influence over the drugs doctors prescribe:
Look for more debate – in living rooms, on the presidential trial, and at the FDA – on advertising dollars and their specific value to busy doctors and consumers alike in the year ahead.