Coalition Statement – DTC Advertising:
Recent news coverage regarding a Harvard Medical School study showing correlation between Plavix price increases for Medicaid programs in 27 states and direct-to-consumer advertising costs is unfounded. As study authors concluded, DTC advertising was not associated with an increase in Plavix use above preexisting trends. Additionally, Medicaid pharmacy expenditures increased substantially only after the initiation of DTC advertising because of an increase in the cost per unit. These findings prove nothing about DTC advertising value for patients, or even the relationship between DTC advertising and product pricing.
DTC plays a critical role in informing patients about their treatment choices, and as the starting point in a dialogue between physician and patient in defining a treatment path. The Coalition supports responsible, effective communication on treatment benefits and risks that improve physician-patient dialogue and foster better care. Limiting FDA-vetted healthcare information impedes access to fair-balance information and stunts two-way dialogue between a patient and their doctor critical to improving medical treatment and quality of life.