Saturday, April 16, 2005

FDA Orders "My Man" Off the Air

See the Washington Post for the story that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline to stop broadcasting their 15 second television advertisement for Levitra, apparently entitled "My Man." This is the ad in which an attractive actress purrs "in the mood for something different?" and then touts Levitra "is the best way to experience the difference."
As a "reminder," this ad should have only called attention to the drug, but not say how well the drug works or how to use it. The FDA contended instead that the ad violated this principle by claiming that Levitra would improve the female partner's sexual experience.
I will be perfectly happy not to have to watch that ad any more.
But Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline probably already got their money's worth from it.
Rather than depending on the FDA's ponderous bureaucracy, wouldn't a more effective way to counter such expansive advertising be to run counter-advertising based on the clinical research evidence? (For example, "Here is what we know Levitra does.... Here are its side-effects.... And here is what the ad claims that is not supported by any evidence....") Maybe managed care would find this a more effective way to decrease costs than twisting physicians' arms not to prescribe such expensive drugs.

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