Pharmacist association calls for ban on direct-to-consumer drug ads

The battle healthcare providers and medical associations have waged against pharmaceutical companies for direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements does not seem to have an end in sight. At the annual meeting of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists' House of Delegates last week in Baltimore, delegates approved a policy calling on Congress to ban all DTC advertising for prescription drugs and medication-containing devices.

ASHP is a national pharmacist organization with more than 43,000 members representing acute and ambulatory care settings.

The organization's new stance supersedes a policy that was first adopted in 1997 and has been refined several times since. Previously, ASHP opposed DTC ads unless they met certain criteria. Now, it is calling for an outright ban on the ads for prescription drugs and medication-containing devices.

"For decades, pharmacists practicing in hospitals and clinics have been the leaders in recommending and initiating evidence-based medication therapies in partnership with physicians and other prescribers — and in helping patients achieve optimal and cost-effective medication therapy outcomes," said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz. "ASHP believes that medication education provided by pharmacists and other providers as part of a provider-patient relationship is a much more effective way to make patients aware of available therapies, rather than relying on direct-to-consumer advertising."

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