Rep. Waxman: DTC ban a priority

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Rep. Henry Waxman
Rep. Henry Waxman
Giving FDA the power to impose two-year moratoria on consumer ads for some new drugs will be a priority for Rep. Henry Waxman as he takes the reins of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Waxman (D-CA) told attendees at a Prescription Project conference in Washington yesterday that he would support legislation allowing the agency to ban ads for new drugs on a case-by-case basis for up to two years after approval.

“It is in these first few years of a drug's life that drug companies often aggressively market their products and engage in direct-to-consumer advertising,” Reuters quoted Waxman as saying. “This increases the number of consumer exposed to safety risks of new products long before those risks are truly understood.”

Waxman said Congress also needs to do something about physician marketing, because the “most persuasive, effective advertising” goes on in the doctor's office. He cited off-label marketing and selective use of clinical information, the Prescription Project's blog reported, and said he supports Sen. Herb Kohl's academic detailing bill, the Independent Drug Education and Outreach Act. He said he had not had a chance to review the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

Waxman is set to take over the powerful committee, which has primary oversight on health policy and spending, having ousted longtime chairman (and fellow DTC critic) John Dingell (D-MI) last month. He previously headed the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a perch from which he launched inquiries into drug safety, pricing and marketing practices.  
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