May 9, 2007

Legislative Activity

May 9, 2007
To: AAF Members
From: Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – Government Affairs
Re: Senate Rejects DTC Advertising Restrictions

On the evening of Tuesday, May 8, the U.S. Senate accepted an amendment to S. 1082, the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act, that repeals the restrictions on commercial speech contained in the original bill and gives the FDA authority to assess monetary penalties for advertising found to be false or misleading. The advertising provisions in the original bill included authority for the FDA to impose a two-year moratorium on prescription drug advertising, required preapproval of DTC ads and added additional and unwieldy mandatory warning language.

The amendment repealing the restrictions was sponsored by Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and supported by Sens. Richard Burr, D-N.C., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The senators were able to convince their colleagues to accept the amendment in large part because of the tremendous grassroots efforts of the advertising industry. This successful conclusion would likely not have happened without the many calls and e-mails from AAF members and other industry representatives.

Each of the senators mentioned above, as well as the sponsors of the bill, Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., deserves the industry's gratitude. Please take a moment to call or e-mail a word of thanks to them for their efforts.

The next step is the House of Representatives, where we expect another difficult battle. The bill, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., authorizes the FDA to impose a three-year moratorium on DTC ads. We will keep you updated on the progress of the issue in the House.

Thank you for all of your work on this important issue and congratulations on a critical victory for commercial speech.