EC plans for drug ‘advertising’ shelved

Posted on the 31st October 2008

A controversial European Commision proposal to allow drug companies to communicate directly with patients, which was due to be presented this week, has been postponed indefinitely.

The proposal, which would allow drug companies to use television, radio and printed media to distribute information on their products, has been strongly criticised by health campaigners as ‘a move to lift the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines by the back door’.

Animal Aid opposes any move to relax the rules governing drug promotion in Europe and sent a copy of our groundbreaking report, Making a Killing: How drug company greed harms people and animals, to MEPs urging them to reject this legisaltion. As Making a Killing demonstrates, drug companies can not be trusted to provide patients with accurate and unbiased information about their products because of an inherent conflict of interest – they want to sell their products. In addition, evidence from the US and New Zealand, where direct-to-consumer advertising is permitted, shows that it leads to an increased demand for ‘advertised’ drugs and a subsequent increase in adverse drug reactions and greater financial burden on publicly-funded healthcare systems.

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