Ways & Means touches on DTC issue

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The issue of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs made a
brief appearance at a House Ways & Means Committee hearing Wednesday on a
prescription-drug-benefit bill.

Committee member Pete Stark (D-Calif.) suggested that DTC advertising
helped to drive up the costs of prescription drugs and asked for the chairman's
thoughts.

According to an attendee at the hearing, Thompson said the Food and Drug
Administration already has authority to review such ads, and he might support
increasing that authority or giving it more resources.

A number of congressmen have suggested that the cost of
advertising prescription drugs has driven up prices in the five years since
those ads were allowed on TV.

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