Remember when we actually got to watch football after Thanksgiving dinner?
But the way the drug companies are running round-the-clock ads these days, it’s starting to feel like Big Pharma and the NFL are sharing equal time.
And if you’re dreaming of the day when you can flip on the tube without seeing that little red bladder blob — or some washed-up celebrity hawking bone drugs — there may be some good news on the horizon.
Because there’s a major new push to get prescription drug ads booted off the airwaves forever.
And wait until you hear who’s leading the charge.
That sounds exactly like what I’ve been telling you for years. But, believe it or not, it’s now the official position of the American Medical Association — the country’s largest group of doctors.
Recently, the AMA voted to work for a ban on those obnoxious direct-to-consumer ads for Rx drugs.
That’s a big deal, because for years AMA and Big Pharma have practically been attached at the hip.
But it also makes a lot of sense.
America and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer drug advertising. And it looks like AMA’s members were sick and tired of commercials telling patients to “ask their doctors” about hot new drugs that are bound to do more harm than good.
Now before you get too excited — and before you think we’ve seen the last of sultry middle-aged women asking their men to take Viagra — let me tell you what AMA is up against.
Because Big Pharma has been using its army of lobbyists for years to keep common sense ad proposals from ever getting past square one. Here are just two:
Common sense proposal #1: You may have heard that drug companies spend $4.5 billion a year on advertising. But what you may not know is that because of a silly tax loophole, they get to write off a lot of those expenses as if they were public service announcements.
Who do these guys think they are? The Little Sisters of the Poor?
New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler has been trying for over a decade to end those tax breaks. But his efforts keep fizzling on the launch pad.
There are just too many Big Pharma bucks flowing through reelection campaign coffers.
Common sense proposal #2: Congressman Henry Waxman of California wants to ban ads for new drugs. He figures we should see how well a drug works — and how safe it is — in the real world before we roll out the slick commercials.
But it’s been five years since Waxman first pitched the concept. And Big Pharma has made sure it hasn’t gone anywhere.
Getting drug companies to change how they advertise is pretty rough sledding. But maybe with America’s doctors getting behind the idea now, we can finally make some headway.
In the meantime, here’s a surefire way to tune out Big Pharma’s incessant commercials once and for all.
Just keep hitting that mute button.
I hope you’ve been having an enjoyable turkey day! At HSI we appreciate you taking time out of your busy holiday to support our work.
“UPDATED: Just say no to drugs (advertising): AMA votes to ban DTC ads” Beth Snyder Bulik, November 17, 2015, FiercePharma Marketing, fiercepharmamarketing.com