Senate Rejects Tighter DTC Drug Ad Limits

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The U.S. Senate yesterday voted against a proposal that would toughen limits on direct-to-consumer drug ads by requiring advertisers to give equal time to information about side effects and similar drugs.

In a 69-26 vote, the Senate rejected the DTC ad rule changes submitted by Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, as an amendment to the Medicare prescription drug benefit plan currently being considered by Congress.

The new rules would have required DTC drug advertisers to display information about side effects as prominently as they display a drug's benefits. Also, advertisers would have to give equal prominence to information about a drug's effectiveness compared with similar drugs.

The rules would have applied to aural, print and video information in DTC drug ads. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration would have been required to accelerate its reviews of the legality of DTC ads placed by drug companies.

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