Drug Safety Bill 'Draconian,' Say Broadcasters


Broadcasters and advertisers continue to fight provisions in a "drug safety" bill that would put what they call "draconian" restrictions on commercial speech.

In a letter to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) the Advertising Coalition said they want him to oppose parts of the Enhancing Drug Safety and innovation Act of 2007 (H.R. 1561), that would include a three-year waiting period before ads could air for new medications, preclearance of ads by the FDA, and mandated warnings.

The coalition, which includes ad associations, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the National Newspaper Association, argue that the provisions are unconstitutional restrictions.

The coalition didn't just diss the bill. It offered an alternative that has been pushed by ad associations, which is to give the Food and Drug Administration the power to impose civil monetary penalties for false advertising. Currently, it can only pull the medicine off the market, which the coalition says it rarely does.

Broadcasters took aim at the bill in a paper released in April from The Media Institute.