FTC: Policies square with High Court

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In response to a request from the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal
Trade Commission has released a report saying the FTC's approach to consumer
protection 'is fully compatible' with First Amendment commercial-speech
protections.

The FDA wanted clarification after the Supreme Court earlier this year, in
Thompson vs. Western States Medical Center, overturned the FDA's ban on
advertising of compounded drugs.

The court said the ban was not the least restrictive method of advancing what
it conceded was a compelling government interest in drawing a distinction
between mass-marketed drugs and ones 'compounded' by individual pharmacies of
the particular needs of their patients.

The FTC said the court's assessment of the constitutionality of
commercial-speech restrictions comports with its own approach, which, the staff
report said, 'focuses on deceptive speech' but 'favors requiring more
information over banning information and avoids broad restrictions limited both
deceptive and nondeceptive advertising.'

The full report is available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2002/09/fdatextversion.pdf.

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