Skip to Main Content

In a dramatic step, the American Medical Association is calling for a ban on advertising prescription drugs and medical devices directly to consumers. The move, however, is largely symbolic, because any ban would have to be authorized by Congress.

The new AMA policy comes after years of complaints by physicians. Ever since the Food and Drug Administration revised guidelines in 1997 to permit drug firms and medical device manufacturers to use broadcasting advertising, doctors argued some ads too often encourage patients to seek medicines unnecessarily. They also resent the pressure the ads place on them to write prescriptions out of concern patients will switch physicians.


Another rationale for the ban, however, is the rising cost of drugs. Doctors have long argued that many of the ads aimed directly at consumers promote more expensive medicines. This, in turn, raises overall health care costs.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Comments are closed.