AMA votes to further study DTC advertising

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The American Medical Association (AMA) voted yesterday to further study the issue of DTC advertising, citing concerns about the effects of the ads on the patient-physician relationships and healthcare costs.
The decision came during the group's annual meeting in Chicago after debate over the subject led to six proposals to limit consumer drug advertising.
"The fact that we saw six resolutions on this subject shows that there are considerable physician concerns about this type of advertising," said AMA trustee Dr. Kim Hetsko.
Hetsko told MM&M that the AMA's Council on scientific affairs and public health will solicit information from physicians, pharmaceutical companies and the public to compile a report on the subject by next year's annual AMA meeting.
When asked whether the AMA's role in journal publishing would have an effect on the report, since journals are competing for the same ad dollars as DTC, Hetsko said, "I expect the council to conduct its study in a very objective and very scientific way. There have been serious physician concerns about this matter. When it comes down to it, the most important thing to us is patient care and our patients are the number one thing to us."
The AMA vote comes just a few days after Bristol-Myers Squibb became the first large pharma company to publish a list of self-imposed DTC guidelines, including a one-year moratorium on DTC advertising for new products. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is also expected to release its industry guidelines regarding DTC advertising next month.
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