- The American Medical Association voted Tuesday to call for an end to all direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising by drug companies. This is an abrupt change from its prior stance.
- The U.S. is one of the few countries that allows DTC advertising.
- This new policy is part of a larger effort to reduce drug prices.
Spending on drug advertising has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2014, it topped out at $4.54 billion, a 21% increase over 2013. The industry argues patients deserve to be well-informed via print and television advertising.
Now, the AMA says DTC advertising drives patients to request expensive treatments, even when there are other less expensive, equally clinically effective options.
Last year, AMA's spent $19.7 million lobbying the U.S. government, compared to $16.6 million by PhRMA. Given its financial heft, AMA's push for the elimination of DTC advertisements could realistically impact pharma companies' DTC channels.