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Voluntary Restrictions on Drug Ads

The country’s top drug companies pledged yesterday to adhere to self-imposed restrictions on drug advertising. Critics argue that the guidelines, which aren’t legally binding, are insufficient. USA Today summarizes the guidelines in Drug Ad Guidelines Hold a Few Surprises; Associated Press writers consider the downfalls of the restrictions in New Drug Ad Guidelines Unlikely to Satisfy.

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t inherently evil, but they have to keep up with their competition to make a profit. All drugs have good and bad attributes. If the industry as a whole follows the guidelines and actually shares information in their ads (shocking concept, huh?), the voluntary restrictions might be enough. If happy people with perfect, side effect-free lives remain the standard, then greater regulation will be necessary. We have to start somewhere.

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