American Medical Association calls for ban on drug commercials

The American Medical Association (AMA) has called for a ban on the promotion of prescription products; action which it believes will help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Physicians at a recent AMA meeting cited concerns that the proliferation of adverts is driving demand for expensive branded treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has called for a ban on the promotion of prescription products; action which it believes will help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Physicians at a recent AMA meeting cited concerns that the proliferation of adverts is driving demand for expensive branded treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

The Association noted that apart from New Zealand, the US is the only country in the world to allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. In addition, AMA notes that promotion is spiralling, with advertising dollars spent by drug makers having increased 30 percent in the last two years to $4.5 billion, according to the market research firm Kantar Media.

AMA also calls for a physician task force to be convened and an advocacy campaign commenced to promote prescription drug affordability by demanding choice and competition in the pharmaceutical industry, and greater transparency in prescription drug prices and costs.

“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 fuelling escalating drug prices,” says AMA Board chair-elect Patrice Harris. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.

“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. 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 forego necessary treatments when drugs are too expensive.”

AMA says its new policy responds to “deepened concerns that anticompetitive behaviour in a consolidated pharmaceutical marketplace has the potential to increase drug prices.” The Association says it will encourage actions by federal regulators to limit such anticompetitive behaviour by pharmaceutical companies attempting to reduce competition from generic manufacturers through manipulation of patent protections and abuse of regulatory exclusivity incentives.

It also plans to monitor pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions, as well as the impact of such actions on drug prices, and believes patent reform is a key area for encouraging greater market-based competition.

Last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report saying that a high cost of prescription drugs remains the public’s top health care priority. In the past few years, prices on generic and brand-name prescription drugs have steadily risen and experienced a 4.7 percent spike in 2015, according to the Altarum Institute Center for Sustainable Health Spending.

AMA believes promoting transparency in prescription drug pricing and costs will help patients, physicians and other stakeholders better understand how drug manufacturers set prices, which will allow the marketplace can react appropriately.

Joel Levy

http://www.pharmafile.com/news/501222/american-medical-association-calls-ban-drug-commercials

Leave a Reply