In the wake of almost countless lawsuits against prescription drug manufacturers, physician groups are advocating a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. This aggressive form of mass marketing encourages patients to request certain prescription drugs, medical devices, and treatments that they may not otherwise seek out. The American Medical Association (AMA) is concerned that this results in unnecessary prescribing and increases potential risks to patients. Earlier this week, the AMA voted to end aggressive marketing campaigns that do not serve to educate physicians or patients, but rather to encourage patients to ask their doctors about specific medications or products. Contact a Boston Drug Injury Lawyer Today.
In addition to protecting the health and safety of patients, banning direct-to-consumer advertising would likely also result in a significant decline in health care costs. In a press release following the vote, AMA Board Chair-elect, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, said, “Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotion, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices.Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.” Approximately $4.5 billion is spent annually on direct-to-consumer advertising, according to the AMA. This is a 30% increase from the previous two years. Interestingly, only the United States and New Zealand allow these types of ads.
Drug Prices Have Spiked 4.7% in the Last Year
The AMA would like to see the creation of a physician task force and an accompanying advocacy campaign that encourages drug pricing transparency. In addition, they wish to see more drug options and an increase in competition among pharmaceutical companies. This year alone, drug prices have escalated by 4.7%. This increase negatively impacts the ability of patients to afford effective drugs, medical products, and treatments. Direct-to-consumer marketing also results in the widespread use of drugs that are sometimes not as effective as another option, and may be altogether unsafe. In fact, a 2014 BBC report revealed that most major pharmaceutical companies spend significantly more on marketing than they do on research.
Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto Linked to Thousands of Injuries and Deaths
One of the manufacturers highlighted in the BBC report was Johnson & Johnson. The report claims that the pharmaceutical giant spent $8.2 billion last year on research and development, and $17.5 billion on marketing during that same time frame. Johnson & Johnson is currently facing millions of dollars in lawsuits as one of its most popular direct-to-consumer drugs, the anticoagulant Xarelto, has been linked to thousands of serious injuries and even deaths. Promoted as a low-maintenance alternative to warfarin for patients at risk of blood clots, Xarelto’s marketing campaign failed to warn of the increased risk of excessive bleeding. Unfortunately, with no known reversal agent for bleeding problems, many patients who developed hemorrhaging and excessive bleeding were severely injured or died. To date, there is still no approved reversal agent for Xarelto, yet it is still being aggressively marketed to the general public.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Drug Injury Lawyers
If inadequate labeling or misleading marketing practices have led you to be injured by a prescription drug or medical device, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Profits should never come at the expense of public health. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.