Health partnership lauds bill targeting ‘bad drug’ ads

A bill targeting “bad drug” television advertisements is drawing the praise of  the Partnership to Protect Patient Health and Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi, a potential Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate next year. The measure passed the upper chamber on a 24-6 vote on Monday evening.

Here’s the full release from the Partnership to Protect Patient Health:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Partnership to Protect Patient Health today joined Manny Sethi, an orthopedic trauma surgeon in Nashville and founder of statewide non-profit Healthy Tennessee, in applauding introduction of legislation to safeguard Tennesseans from deceptive “bad drug” advertisements.

“I applaud Senator Briggs and Representative Sexton for their work to protect Tennesseans from deceptive ‘bag drug’ commercials – truth in these advertisements is critical to protect patient safety,” said Manny Sethi, an orthopedic trauma surgeon in Nashville and founder of statewide non-profit Healthy Tennessee. “Research shows, and I have seen firsthand, that these commercials lead patients who have been prescribed critically important medications to doubt or discontinue their treatment regimen without consulting a physician, putting patients’ health at risk. Without limiting or banning drug-injury advertisements, this common sense legislation will ensure vulnerable populations are protected and that they have the information needed to make the best decisions for their health. I thank Senator Briggs and Representative Sexton for their leadership and look forward to SB0352 and HB0352 becoming law.”

The legislation, introduced by Senator Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) and Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), would protect patients by requiring advertisements to properly warn patients that it is dangerous to stop taking a prescribed medication before consulting with a physician. The legislation would not limit or ban drug-injury advertisements. It simply would protect vulnerable populations by ensuring they have the information necessary to make the best decisions for their health regarding prescription drug use.

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee is scheduled to consider the legislation on Tuesday, February 19.

BACKGROUND

The Partnership to Protect Patient Health recently surveyed 500 medical providers and 800 patients to understand their perspectives about “bad drug” ads and how they influence decision-making. One fourth of patients who saw these ads stopped treatment without even consulting their physician. Fifty eight percent of physicians reported that a patient stopped taking their medication after seeing one of these ads. Physicians overwhelmingly expressed the need for stronger regulation of attorney advertising. Nearly all (90 percent) agreed there should be rules in place.

The Partnership to Protect Patient Health is a coalition of diverse stakeholders, including patients, health care providers, researchers and caregivers, that raises awareness among policymakers and the media about the implications of “bad drug” commercials. The organization aims to protect the relationship between the patient and his or her health care provider by:

  • Ensuring patient health and safety are top priorities;
  • Facilitating a dialogue about how misleading drug-injury advertising puts patient safety at risk by circumventing the critical relationship between doctor and patient;
  • Supporting the education of patients, health care providers, policymakers and other stakeholders; and
  • Encouraging patients to consult their health care providers with questions or concerns about their prescribed medications.

Members of the Partnership to Protect Patient Health include: Alliance for Patient Access, Alliance for Aging Research, National Infusion Center Association, Caregiver Action Network, Men’s Health Network, Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health, Heart Rhythm Society, Health Women, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, National Blood Clot Alliance, Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc., Mended Hearts, Global Healthy Living Foundation, StopAfib.org, and Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition.

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