Friday, January 15, 2010

If You Can't Beat the Regulators, Sic 'Em on You Competition!

In his latest post to DTC Perspectives Blog, Chairman Bob Ehrlich suggests that the Congress should regulate all health advertising and not just single out Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising by drug companies (see "The Inequality of DTC Regulation").

"Congress, as part of a final health reform bill should give FDA or another part of the federal government jurisdiction over health claim advertising," says Ehrlich. "Americans are wasting precious health care dollars on products that do not work as advertised and potentially dangerous."

I agree. Ads that promote products that "don't work as advertised" and that are "potentially dangerous" SHOULD be regulated. But isn't that what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is for?

It's strange for someone who has argued against stricter regulation of the drug industry to now suggest that we create a new regulatory bureaucracy when we have all the bureaucracy we need right now. The only reason I can think of is that Rx drug DTC marketers are getting blasted by the competition. What better way to beat them than bring out the dogs?

All I can say is, be careful what you wish for!

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