Paternalism Inc.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an editorial and counterpoint addressing the new voluntary guidelines on direct to consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising. The editorial argues that DTC ads should be strictly regulated or banned because they inflate drug prices and don’t provide health benefits.

The counterpoint by PhRMA head Billy Tauzin argues that DTC ads “help improve awareness of diseases and their treatments, leading to better health and even saving lives,” and that pharmaceutical companies already have to comply with FDA rules on accuracy. PhRMA is making some concessions with its voluntary guidelines in order to stave off a backlash against DTC.

In my view DTC ads should be allowed, just like ads for any other legal product. It’s up to viewers to be intelligent consumers, and up to the provider and payer community to make sure patients are prescribed what’s appropriate for them. Americans are savvy shoppers and generally know how to handle marketing messages. They don’t need restrictions on the flow of information.

August 5, 2005

One thought on “Paternalism Inc.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *