AMA Calls for a Ban on Prescription Drug Advertisements to Save Patients Money

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

The American Medical Association says direct-to-consumer ads are driving up treatment costs, but their efforts to ban the ads will likely run into a legal challenge.

The American Medical Association is calling for the federal government to ban consumer-directed advertisements for prescription drugs and medical devices. The doctors’ group says the ads are fueling consumer demand for costly treatments and driving an increase in drug prices.

Market research firm Kantar Media says that drugmakers have increased their spending on drug ads in the United States by 30 percent in the past two years. They now spend a whopping $4.5 billion per year on glossy magazine spreads and television commercials promoting their drugs.

“A growing proliferation of ads is driving demand for expensive treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives,” the AMA said in a statement.

The Chicago-based association recently adopted a new policy supporting a drug advertising ban that “reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” AMA board chair-elect Dr. Patrice A. Harris said in a press release. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

New Zealand and the United States are the only countries that permit direct-to-consumer ads for prescription medications.

In addition to a ban on drug ads, the AMA is also calling for increased transparency in drug pricing and costs.

“Physicians strive to provide the best possible care to their patients, but increases in drug prices can impact the ability of physicians to offer their patients the best drug treatments,” Harris said. “Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patient’s health plan. In a worst-case scenario, patients forgo necessary treatments when drugs are too expensive.”

PhRMA, the largest U.S. trade group for the pharmaceutical industry, told Reuters that drug ads are used to increase consumer awareness about available treatments for illnesses and also provide information about potentially undiagnosed conditions.

“Providing scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options is the goal of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising about prescription medicines,” PhRMA spokesman Tina Stow said in an email.

Banning drug ads is easier said than done because restricting the ads could run up against free speech protections.

If the government agrees with the AMA and bans the ads, “it’s very unlikely the ban would stand up to a legal challenge, which would almost certainly be mounted by both the pharmaceutical industry and media,” said Julie Donohue, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, in an interview with Marketplace.

Drug prices have been front and center in recent months. Turing made the news when it hiked the price of a 62-year-old generic drug by 5,000 percent overnight. A Senate committee is investigating Turing and other pharmaceutical companies for massive increases in drug prices. The latest call from the AMA suggests the debate over prescription drugs will continue to heat up.

What do you think of the AMA’s call to ban drug ads? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Open Enrollment at Work: 5 Easy Steps to the Best Benefits for You

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,067 more deals!