May 15, 2002

Legislative Activity


Date: May 15, 2002

To: AAF Members

From: Clark Rector Jr., senior vice president-state government affairs

Re: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals


As you may have read, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) recently announced that he would not include limitations on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of pharmaceuticals when he introduced legislation to provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit. This is good news since Chairman Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of DTC in Congress.

However, this does not mean that our worries are over. At virtually the same time that Chairman Thomas was making his announcement, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) was introducing a bill that would limit the tax deduction a pharmaceutical company can take for advertising expenses to no more than what they deduct for research and development costs. According to the Senator, "What we're saying is the taxpayers of this country ought to set a limit on how much advertising they will subsidize." Press materials list Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) as a supporter of the bill.

Clearly, the DTC issue is not going away. It is very important that the advertising community continue to communicate with members of Congress — on both sides of the Hill — and let them know we oppose any efforts to limit truthful speech for pharmaceuticals or any other legal product.

I urge you and other members of your advertising federation to e-mail or call your Representative and Senators and let them know that you oppose any effort to limit DTC advertising. An issue brief is attached for your convenience. E-mail addresses can be found at the House, www.house.gov, and Senate, www.senate.gov, Web pages. Please send copies of your e-mails to us here at AAF.

Do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any comments or questions.