AMA: Ban direct-to-consumer drug ads by eliminating marketing costs as tax writeoff

In its fight against pharmaceutical companies' use of direct-to-consumer advertisements for prescription drugs, the American Medical Association is seeking ways to discourage drugmakers from blasting such marketing campaigns.

At the AMA annual meeting in Chicago June 13, delegates discussed an idea to discourage DTC ads: eliminate pharmaceutical companies' ability to write off marketing costs as a federal tax deduction, according to HCP Live.

"We can't prevent DTC ads under the First Amendment, but we could eliminate companies' ability to write off DTC advertising [expenses]," said a Massachusetts delegate in support of the resolution, according to the report.

Under such a rule, the tax code would be changed to eliminate the deduction.

The controversial measure was immediately opposed by a New York delegate, according to the report.

"I don't think we can impose our wishes on the IRS, it's a valid business expense," said Bob Frankel, MD, according to the report. He added, "Should we not allow ice cream ads, since ice cream may contribute to obesity? It's unreasonable."

A delegate from Florida also opposed the measure, saying, "We appreciate the concerns and we don't like DTC advertising either, but we oppose the resolution as a no-win situation that would have negative fallout for the AMA."

Read more about the debate surrounding DTC drug ads here.

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