TV Drug Pushers Include Media and Advertising Lobbyists

"Madison Avenue, facing growing legislative threats to one of the advertising industry's most lucrative categories, is stepping up the fight to protect its freedom to pitch prescription drugs directly to consumers. Drug companies, agencies and their media allies who have benefited handsomely from the flood of ads beat back one recent measure in the House of Representatives. ... The category of direct-to-consumer ads did not even exist until five years ago. Before 1997, broad curbs prevented pharmaceutical makers from mounting any significant
efforts, and they aimed most of their spending directly at health care professionals. But since the Food and Drug Administration loosened its strictures against those ads, primarily by making it much easier to promote drugs with commercials, the category has boomed. ... Indeed, in a survey last month...25 percent of
respondents said they had been prompted by direct-to-consumer ads to call or visit a doctor to discuss the product being advertised. ... The agencies are being joined by lobbyists for media that would lose ad revenue if Congress tightened rules for direct-to-consumer ads." A critical look at such ads is found at the Boston Women's Health Book Collective website.