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Advertisers Target Oregon Drug Ad Bill

Advertisers and ad agencies have taken aim at a bill in the Oregon State Senate that would require drug companies to include the wholesale price of their pharmaceuticals (or the manufacturer list price per a proposed amendment) in broadcast, cable, online and other direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising in the state.

That could discourage those manufacturers from advertising in the state.

In a letter to the leadership of the Oregon State Senate, the Association of National Advertisers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation (AAF), and the Coalition for Healthcare Communication told the legislature that the bill has First Amendment issues, interstate commerce issues and would not help consumers.

They argue that imposing a content-based restriction on one specific type of advertising (DTC) by one element in the health care arena is a free speech violation since it has the effect of blocking ads that don't contain the mandated disclosure.

"The government cannot target a specific product by burdening truthful, non-misleading ads or require private parties to vilify their own products," they said.

And given that some of the ads Oregon residents see are national or regional, the bill would impose significant added costs for pharmaceutical companies who use national and regional media.

"DTC advertising is providing valuable information to millions of Americans about their health care," they said in calling on legislators to oppose the bill. "Senate Bill 792 would impose a serious disincentive for pharmaceutical companies to provide this information to the residents of Oregon."

(Photo via Oregon Department of Transportation's FlickrImage taken on March 9, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)