House, Senate hook up on DTC ads

DTC ads may have performed a minor miracle. The U.S. House and Senate appear to be poised to work together. Yes, these perennial competitors could join forces on investigating consumer advertising for drugs and medical devices. Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, wrote to Rep. Bart Stupak, who chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, offering to add his device-ad evidence to Stupak's growing body of data on drug ads. "We would welcome any further exchange of information with the Subcommittee on this important matter," Kohl wrote, "and we stand ready to work with you and your able professional staff in addressing these DTC advertising issues in a cooperative and bicameral manner."

As you know, Stupak and his buddy Rep. John Dingell, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have been firing off letters to all and sundry in the pharma world, seeking information about various DTC ad campaigns. They've held hearings. They complained so loudly about Pfizer's Lipitor campaign starring Dr. Robert Jarvik (video) that the drugmaker eventually yanked the commercials altogether.

Kohl started to apply the same sorts of pressure on device advertising, and his bid for equal-investigative-treatment is one reason he's contacted Stupak. Device ads should carry the same regulatory oversight as drug ads, Kohl theorizes, so let's all work together and sock it to them! Whether the joint effort steps up the pressure or not, you can be sure that the scrutiny will continue.

- read the story at Medical News Today

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