Point-Counterpoint on DTC Drug Ads

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial contends that voluntary restrictions on direct-to-consumer drug ads are unlikely to provoke much change. The editorial argues that the FDA should regulate drug ads and maybe even reinstate the pre-1997 ban.

The editorial was accompanied by a counterpoint article that supports drug ads for increasing public awareness of disease and treatments. PhRMA CEO and President Billy Tauzin maintains that the industry’s voluntary restrictions go above and beyond government requirements.

Funny how often point-counterpoint pieces don’t actually address the issues raised by the opposing side. And how choosing an author like the president and CEO of the organization that’s being criticized makes the first, and presumably “right,” argument even stronger. He should at least get a gold star for effort.

In any situation, I like to think that all parties will have a beneficial outcome (a win-win if you’d like). Trying a compromise instead of swinging wildly from one end of the continuum to the other is logical. Even though I think that drug companies aren’t necessarily evil, current DTC drug ads are. There may be a few exceptions, but I have yet to see them. If the new guidelines don’t inspire drastic changes, I’ll be marching for a ban on DTC ads too.

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