Some U.S. Congresspeople want to limit direct to consumer marketing of drugs. Rep. Bart Stupak is head of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce investigative panel. At a hearing to discuss specific ads by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Schering-Plough, Stupak said that "It appears that we need to enforce significant restrictions on DTC (direct-to-consumer) ads to protect American consumers from manipulative commercials designed to mislead and deceive for the profit of pharmaceutical companies." Referring to the fact that other than New Zealand, the U.S. is the only country to allow direct to consumer advertising of drugs he added, "Pharmaceutical companies should consider it a privilege to be allowed to air DTC ads in this country. We should make sure that pharmaceuticals companies conduct themselves responsibly." The ranking Republican on the committee, John Shimkus of Illinois, said that since the Food and Drug Administration was just recently given oversight of drug ads, it is too soon for congressional intervention. But as CMD has reported previously, there is significant concern as to whether the FDA and other government agencies are able and willing to stand up to industry and government pressure.
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