Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising–Will the U.S. Look North?

Overview

Food and Drug Law
Food and Drug Regulatory Law The USFDA is seeking public comment on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs according to a notice posted on February 23, 2016.

In Canada, DTC advertising is essentially limited to name, price and quantity of a drug for prescription products; claims of safety and efficacy can only be communicated to health care professionals and must be within the scope of the Health Canada approved indication. These rules have been in place for several years. 

The results of the U.S. survey may encourage the FDA to consider a more limited approach to consumer advertising, although it is not clear whether a complete ban like the ban in Canada would be enacted.

Interestingly, the American Medical Association called for a ban on advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices last year. For medical devices (and drugs, food, and cosmetics), Canadian rules restrict advertisements to the public that indicate that a device may be used as a treatment, preventative or cure for certain scheduled diseases (cancer, diabetes, depression) but do otherwise permit direct-to-consumer advertising for medical devices. 

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