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Coalition Opposes Bill to Block Drug Ads

The Advertising Coalition this week sent a letter to the House Commerce Committee chief urging him to stop a bill to ban pharmaceutical ads. The House bill, H.R. 1561, sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), would impose a three-year moratorium on advertising new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The coalition told Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) that the bill imposed unconstitutional restrictions on speech, and suggested that Congress instead empower the FDA to levy fines for false advertising. Currently, the FDA can make a company pull a drug off the market, but the coalition noted, "this penalty is rarely used due to the severity of the sanction."

Coalition members include the NAB, NBC, CBS, American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Magazine Publishers of America, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, National Newspaper Association and the Newspaper Association of America.