House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) raised the prospect of pulling tax deductions on ads for pharmas, telling reporters he expects such a measure could reap a $37 billion windfall that would go toward healthcare reform. Rangel was quoted by Bloomberg as having said drug ads should not be subsidized by taxpayers because they encourage patients to demand medicines they don’t need. “I do it,” said Rangel. “I go to the doctor and say, ‘Did you ever think about ordering this for me?’ If he says no, I don’t like him, because they promised me on TV that I have no problems at all.”

The FDA’s rep has improved in the last year, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll. Positive ratings for managing Rx drug recalls or withdrawals increased from 39% to 53%, but most still give the agency poor marks on ensuring food safety (56%) and drug safety (52%) and getting new drugs to market more quickly (54%).