Skip to main content

House Health Subcommittee Cuts Drug Ad Ban

Broadcasters were celebrating Wednesday after a bill that included restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising being marked up in the House Health Subcommittee was amended to remove a three-year ban on ads for new drugs.

By a vote of 23 to 9, a broadcaster-backed amendment from Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Steve Buyer (R-IN) was added that would strengthen the FDA's authority to punish nontruthful or deceptive ads but not ban ads outright.

The ammendment also replaced provisions that would have given the FDA authority to pre-approve ad content and require additional warnings in ads.

"NAB applauds Representatives Towns and Buyer for offering this important pro-consumer amendment," said National Association of Broadcasters President David Rehr. "Each year, thousands of Americans seek treatment for heart disease, high blood pressure and other diseases through education that comes in part from prescription drug advertising. There is simply no legitimate reason to deny American citizens this potentially life-saving information."

Broadcasters had labeled the bill "draconian" and took aim at it in a paper released by The Media Institute..

The bill heads for markup in the full Energy & Commerce committee Thursday.