Extensive advertisements of direct-to-consumer prescription drugs and medical devices should be banned: this is the call of the American Medical Association. This is because patients are now driven to opt for inappropriate, expensive treatments even if cheaper ones have the same potentials.
In the policy-making session in Atlanta, delegates from the group opted to ratify this policy because of the sudden increase of advertising that makes drug prices spike up. AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris stated, "Today's vote in support of an advertising ban 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 claimed that since 2013, pharmaceutical companies' spending on commercials alone skyrocketed to $4.5 billion, that is, 30 percent per se, while price tags of prescription drugs this year shoot up to almost 5 percent. "Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patients' health plan," Dr. Harris said.
However, the drug industry does not agree with AMA's notion defending that direct-to-consumer ads could actually help create consumer awareness not only on available treatments for common diseases but also even for those unknown. "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," said trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Trish Stow.
Meanwhile, United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recommended enforcing against what she dubbed as "price gouging" of medical companies. Her plan would hold off tax deductions these companies file for spending on advertisements. However, AMA needs to assess the proposed policy further on how to seek the ban without being overturned as the U.S. Constitution protects outright any form of commercial speeches.