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House to vote on prescription-drug reform - Broadcasting & Cable

House to vote on prescription-drug reform

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Two House Committees this week will vote on prescription-drug reform backed
by House Republicans.

On Wednesday, both the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy
and Commerce Committee will hold votes, known as "mark ups," on the
legislation.

The version of the bill being considered by Ways and Means includes a
provision that would require the General Accounting Office to study how
advertising prescription drugs on television affects consumers.

The study, which the GAO would be required to publish within two years of the
bill's enactment, is a compromise between Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), chairman
of Ways and Means, and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of Energy and
Commerce.

Thomas wanted to insert a provision that would have restricted drug
companies' ability to spend money on prescription drug advertising, but Tauzin
said he wouldn't support it.

Meanwhile, Senators still are deciding the form of the bill they want to
introduce.

Senate Democrats last week unveiled their legislation, which did not include
a bill authored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Stabenow's bill would not allow drug companies to claim an ad-tax deduction
on any money spent on advertising and marketing that was in excess of the
companies' research and development budgets.

Senate Republicans also are writing legislation, but thus far that draft
doesn't have any language that would restrict prescription-drug advertising.

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