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Dachel Media Update: AMA Urges Ban on Drug Ads

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump.   The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Aperture International. Aperture

Nov 17, 2015, Msn.com: Major US doctors group [AMA] urges ban on drug ads


The American Medical Association, which has more than 200,000 members, voted to urge an end to direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs and medical devices during a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA Board Drugs dollars Chair-elect Patrice Harris.

About $4.5 billion is spent promoting prescription drugs in the United States annually, and many health experts say soaring drug costs are making some treatments for cancer, hepatitis C and other illnesses out of reach for some of the nation's most vulnerable people.

This was surprising.  The AMA seems to feel that the ad dollars spent by pharma only adds to "soaring drug costs."  They don't seem offended that patients are expected to tell their doctors what drugs they should be taking.  "Ask your doctor if XXX is right for you."

A physician I know is skeptical about this pronouncement.  He wrote, "Talk is cheap and that's what that is." 

Imagine what an end to ad revenue would mean to TV networks and print media.  No one really wants to see this happen.

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Anne Dachel Book CoverAnne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of  The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.


theresa 66

I wonder if this happens ( ie quit Direct to consumer advertising ), would that stop the constant vax advertisements that are probably government paid and made? PSA's would perhaps continue. Since I consider them the worst of pharmas harmful cocktails, I hope they would stop, too.

patricia pratt


Anne i have not been around for a while but came across the link above today. Thought it might interest people.


What? What? You don't want to see the ads disappear? Why would you suddenly decide that the ad revenue for TV networks is okay?

I am completely baffled by this statement. You can't have it both ways -- you either do away with the ads, and let the consequences fall where they may, or you continue to subject the public to advertising that promotes Big Pharma...to news that promotes Big Pharma...to shows that Big Pharma supports that dumb down the public.


Imagine what an end to ad revenue would mean to TV networks and print media. No one really wants to see this happen.

John Stone


Interesting paper. It gives the prehistory of the erosion but I still think that the point where the actual damn burst was not so much 1989 as 1997 - which is perhaps only significant to me because I gave the date of 1997 in my "Article for Independence Day".


I wasn't completely wrong, at least. It is striking how faceless all this is - decisions are made but only the grey machine is responsible (though it was more fateful than going to war).


I spoke this week with a pcp about this. His view is that AMA is doing the bidding for Obamacare, costs are too expensive so they want to keep the consumer in the dark about what is out there and available.

Then, big pharma won't allow this to happen and will start coughing up more money to lobby Congress and in the end nothing will change. Well, except that our representatives get richer.


Re: drugs: well, I'm a grandmother, have an adult Aspie daughter nearing 50, and I don't take -- nor need -- any drugs at all. Very rarely I'll have some vitamin C. We've been vegan for over 40 years. and I rollerblade, ice skate and we run (albeit not a great runner)daily. So does my daughter.

No animal products at all, no junk food or breads. Delicious food though! Age needn't mean aches and decrepitude! Look at the Hunzas and the Villacambians, etc.

This is possible for everybody!

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

So glad you were able to avert tragedy for your father. Loss of balance and mobility also lead to serious falls with head injury. I have seen too much of this lately.

Many of us have projects we want to work on in retirement, full-time. But too many doctors view us as objects of testing and treatment, and would have us full-time in waiting rooms, to be sent home with more and more pills. Loss of health is then blamed on age. It is a tragic outrage.


I am not liking the fact of candidate Rubio being bankrolled by a wealthy genomic pharma type, I believe his band is Bramen. This all just has to stop.


Thank you very much for correcting me. This is a prime example of how people are misinformed. I read some time ago that it was 1999, remembered that factoid not realizing that a lot preceded 1999, and out it popped today, spread to others. I really appreciate your taking the time to share the true history. I laughed to myself too when I saw that your pdf is 49 pages long plus references. I have some things to get done today and I thought to myself, here's a test of character for me, am I going to sit here and read this or like members of Congress voting on bills that they haven't read and have no background in, am I going to be too "busy"?

I read the parts that you referred to. Will get to the rest of it later and will keep it tucked away for future reference. Spotted this doozy on page 41 (written in 2002):

"First, we can largely rule out the possibility that DTC advertising is causing systematic consumer deception, including the inappropriate downplaying of risks and side effects. FDA advertising regulation is inherently biased toward prohibiting nondeceptive claims rather than risk permitting possibly deceptive claims."

Thanks again. :o)


I agree with your doctor friend. It's all talk and it won't happen. The AMA is one of the most corrupt groups. Their one goal is to get rid of all other healing modalities! An excellent book to read about the AMA's war on natural medicine is The Assault on Medical Freedom by P. Joseph Lisa.

david m burd


Here is a pdf establishing 1989 as when the dam broke containing direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. BUT, about fifteen times more Pharma spending (compared to DTC) goes to "promotionals" and medical industry magazines' advertisements, with such ads usually having about 3 pages of literature giving cautions, possible reactions, etc. Of course these pages are not usually brought to a patient's attention.



Very good point. When my father was in his late 80's, he was prescribed an anti-arrhythmic. A couple of months later he was losing his balance, falling, and was having trouble with pain and lack of control of his legs. For the first time, he was using a walker, but with difficulty and it looked like he would need to go to a nursing home. I repeatedly reported all this to his internist and cardiologist. Both said it was his age, to be expected. I finally looked online at the prescribing info for the anti-arrhythmic and found right there in black and white that 40% of patients given this drug develop neurological problems and lose the ability to walk! I took my father and my printed info to the cardiologist (who is a very nice man) and presented my find to him and with his back to me (maybe he was embarrassed - he usually is very personable) he said, "ok, you can stop it", and my dad was switched to another drug. It took several weeks to get the poison out of his system and over time he regained his strength and function. My dad still lives at home in his mid 90's. But if I hadn't intervened to look up the information on the internet, that drug would have killed him.

Peter Miles

When you look at the financial statements of the pharma companies marketing expenses usually run 2 - 3 times R&D expenses, which tells you a lot. You can make more money from flogging a poor drug than you can from discovering a good one. When they run into financial hard times R&D expenses get slashed while marketing expenses are sacrosanct, typical short term management.

With giant marketing budgets comes all the control of media, professional organizations, public research through an over-balanced public/private grant process, and the political process through lobbying and hand-outs to groomed candidates.

Curtailing prescription drug advertising is a very small step, but hopefully a step in the right direction. Maybe it shows that there is more vigilance, more professionals waking up and seeing the bigger picture. With an autism rate still climbing along with other diseases previously considered very rare it means many more professionals will be personally impacted and willing to look deeper than the status quo propaganda they have been fed too much of.

Patience (Eileen Nicole) Simon

Linda1, thanks as always for the additional info. Danchi, thanks for the link. I signed the petition and sent the letter to my senators and President Obama. I added the following comment:

Now in my 70s, I look around and see how many people are suffering injuries from drug "side effects." Most tragic is mobility impairment, people who need walkers and personal care attendants. Isn't this similar to the thorazine shuffle, long recognized in people treated with this drug for schizophrenia? It is a disgrace that so many doctors keep prescribing, and don't pay any attention to side effects.


The FDA reversed the ban on direct to consumer advertising in 1999. Even if it is 16 years too late and even if the AMA no longer has the clout to make anything happen, since in the last several decades the AMA has been stripped of any power it ever had, it is a good thing that at least they have come out with a statement. It is true that the consumer and our ailing economy pays for every penny of all that advertising, whether through TV or internet or in print or in the form of "free" samples and gifts to providers. All that should end, together with the kick backs that the medical profession receives through various means, including advertising in medical professional journals which is a corrupting influence on content and on the practice of medicine. Of course, instead of lowering prices, Pharma would pocket the savings, but it is still the right, ethical, business model.

The heirarchy of power goes something like this: At the top, Big Pharma, then Big Insurance, then Big Government, the Media, then several rungs lower, the AMA, then many rungs lower all the way on the bottom, the Little People, Us.


Haha maybe they're realizing that they just look bad. Bad, bad, bad. Why do they stand by and say nothing as autism skyrockets. These are some sick people.


Please sign the petition:

Birgit Calhoun

That sounds like a great plan. Will this be implemented? I doubt it. Greed is stronger than good sense.

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