Monday, April 14, 2008

Loophole clears path for direct-to-consumer drug ads, critics charge

From the Globe and Mail:
A Conservative amendment leaves open a loophole that could allow pharmaceutical companies to directly advertise drugs to consumers.

It's a move critics say could drive up health-care costs and influence which drugs people take.

Under an amendment to the federal Food and Drugs Act, the government could authorize companies to promote drugs and their benefits directly to consumers through television, radio and print commercials, as they do in the United States.

The change was included in sweeping updates to food, drug and consumer product safety laws that Prime Minister Stephen Harper introduced at a news conference earlier this week.

A Canadian expert on direct-to-consumer advertising condemned the change and said it could have wide-reaching consequences on the health-care system and the treatment Canadians receive. ...more

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