Friday, March 04, 2005

FDA Scolds Drug Companies for Direct to Consumer Advertising

In the Boston Globe, a US Food and Drug Admininstration (FDA) official scolded drug companies for their direct to consumer (DTC) advertising, saying "consider this a heads up. We are very concerned about the direction consumer advertising seems to be taking."
It took them long enough to become concerned.
However, I wonder whether the drug companies will submit voluntarily to more stringent regulation of DTC advertising, or will they argue that it's a violation of their free speech rights. And if they made such an argument, they might be right.
But as something of a free speech absolutist, I believe that the best way to challenge speech with which you disagree is by speaking out against it, not by attempting to silence it.
So I continue to wonder why all those "concerned" about DTC advertising, which ought to include managed care organizations and us physicians as well as the FDA, don't try to communicate directly to the public to counter the DTC advertising with which they disagree.

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