Drug Advertisers Push for Abbreviated Disclaimers

Drug advertisers argue that the current FDA ad labeling requirements are a case of WTMI: Way too much information.

The Coalition for Healthcare Communication, representing the ad agencies that handle pharmaceutical and medical products, is calling for changes to FDA-mandated disclosures on advertising that would make them shorter and, they argue, to the point.

John Kamp, formerly with the American Association of Advertising Agencies and now executive director of the coalition, said the group wants to simplify the disclosures so that they focus on patent needs and what they might want to tell the doctor. They will unveil the effort Friday in Washington.

At present, Kamp says, the disclosures--those lengthy statements at the end of broadcast ads and in large blocks of tiny type in print ads--are taken from labels designed for doctors, not patients, he says. They provide information overload, he suggests, and not the kind the patient needs.

The coalition, which describes itself as "defend[ing] the right of health professionals and consumers to receive truthful information regarding pharmaceuticals and medical products," constitutes: The American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Federation, American Business Media, American Medical Publishers Association, Association of Medical Publications, Association of National Advertisers, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Healthcare Marketing and Communications Council, Medical Marketing Association, Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association, and Public Relations Society of America.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.