AAF: Gephardt proposed DTC ad ban

According to the American Advertising Federation, presidential candidate Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), in a speech in Iowa touting his health-care plan last week, proposed a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, which would include TV and radio spots.

Some health-care reformers blame the cost of such ads for pushing up the price of prescription drugs, while others cite drug company marketing to doctors as the bigger culprit.

According to AAF, Gephardt called the ads "crazy" and said that absent the ban, busy doctors might take the easy route and prescribe a patient-requested medicine instead of having to explain the benefits of an alternative.

Backers of DTC ads, including AAF, say they provide important, even potentially life-saving, information to consumers.

Congress plans to consider a prescription drug bill when it returns from the Memorial Day break, with a vote planned by July 4.