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Call to tighten law on drug adverts


Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has called for tighter regulations relating to how prescription drug companies market their products to consumers in the US.

And he said firms should be made to wait two years before they can begin advertising their new drugs.

He claimed that in the decade since the government relaxed rules on advertising directly to consumers, spending on prescription drug adverts has nearly quadrupled to more than £2.8bn.

He said: “With such aggressive and often misleading drug company marketing, it’s too easy for advertising – instead of doctors or proven results – to influence families’ health decisions.

“It’s time to stand up to the drug companies and their lobbyists who have rigged the system. It’s time to stand strong for families, patients and doctors.” And he claimed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been “an ineffective watchdog, reviewing only a small fraction of ads”.

The former senator from North Carolina is also calling for drug companies to be forced to get FDA approval before launching major campaigns, and wants firms to have to disclose more information about a drug’s side-effects and effectiveness compared with placebos and alternative drugs.

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