Congressional leaders look to reel in telehealth ads promoting drugs

Congressional leaders are calling for more oversight of telehealth company ads promoting prescription drugs without risk disclosures and for uses that aren't FDA approved, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 19.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has reached out to the FDA and Federal Trade Commission to regulate telehealth ads. Reporting from the Journal found that during a four-week period, more than 1,800 social media ads from telehealth companies promoted prescription drugs without warning of side effects.

Rep. Andy Harris, MD, is particularly concerned with telehealth companies pushing Adderall for patients without an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis and ketamine as treatment for anxiety and depression. 

"As an anesthesiologist, I feel this is beyond concerning," Dr. Harris said. "I intend to continue working with the FDA and my physician colleagues in Congress to stop these bad actors, while expanding telehealth access where appropriate and helpful."

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