The American Medical Association (AMA) has voted in favor of a ban on prescription drug ads arguing that such practices contributed to rising drug costs and patients' demands for unneeded treatment.
Delegates at the group's policy-making meeting in Atlanta voted to adopt that as official policy as part of an effort to make prescription drugs more affordable, according to the Associated Press.
"Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA board chair-elect Patrice Harris. "Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate."
Data cited in an AMA news release revealed that U.S. drug companies have spent $4.5 billion in the last two years selling products, reported Voice of America. However, these costs can make prescriptions too expensive, compromising patient care.
"Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patients' health plan," said Harris in the news release.
The pharmaceutical industry came out in opposition of the AMA's stance, arguing that direct-to-consumer ads aim to provide "scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options," said Tina Stow of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group, also claiming that the ads encourage patients to visit their doctors for conversations about health that may otherwise not take place.
The AMA is slated to evaluate the policy in the upcoming weeks to determine how to proceed with seeking a ban.