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Monday, July 27, 2009

Side effects may include tax

One of the things that the drug manufacturers do that drives us nuts is advertise prescription drugs on television. It's inappropriate for kids, expensive, disruptive of the doctor-patient relationship, and just generally gross. We're all pretty tired of hearing what to do if our erection lasts for more than four hours.

Now some of the folks on Capitol Hill who are seeking to reform health insurance and health care delivery are taking aim at this practice, threatening to cut off the tax deduction for the enormous expense of these ads. If such a provision of law is ever enacted, the lawyers will have a field day fighting over whether it's constitutional. But sometimes you have to risk being sued in order to do the right thing. This is one of those times.

Comments (18)

I'm not seeing the Constitutional angle --- you can't buy the drugs and the provision doesn't prohibit the ads; it simply says that these ads are not allowed against expenses.

The fact that the tax consequences of corporate speech are adjusted doesn't turn it into a free speech case, since the speech is in no way inhibited or restricted.

If the drug companies want to bring a lot of evidence that, contrary to all their protestations thus far, this advertising IS essential for sales and does effect prescribing, then I'd definitely want to let them argue against all their past statements.

Commercial speech is protected by the First Amendment. Discriminating against certain types of speech based on content bears a heavy burden of justification. If I were the judge, you could ban advertising of prescription drugs entirely. But I am not the judge.

How about simply barring the use of advertising for any pharmaceutical that was researched or developed in part using federal research money?

Incidentally, pharma ads are only a little more than a decade old. The FDA used to bar them altogether as recently as the early 1990s.

Of course, if we're looking for ways to improve the health of Americans, I'd suggest simply taxing corn syrup.

Corn syrup bad for our health, bad for our food security, and bad for the environment.

It was a dark day when they started allowing this shinola on the airwaves.

They make billions and they get a friggin tax deduction for advertising? Perfect.

If I were the judge, you could ban advertising of prescription drugs entirely.

Absolutely. It doesnt help consumers anyway. We cant go buy them without talking to our doctor first. It just makes people paranoid hypochondriacs.

Ban the magazine ads too...

I hate the ads too. However, it does nothing to rile the youth, I'm afraid. They are already desensitized by other misdeeds on the airwaves. For instance, have you ever listened to the garbage that is spewed on the morning FM radio stations geared toward the kiddies? The attempt by the morning hosts to be hip and edgy makes them sound more like Mike Vick at the dog fights. They transform even the most shy call-in guests into full fledged attention wh--res, egging them on to reveal all the vulgar details of the previous nights sexploits. Ick. At least with the ads we can pretend the characters headed off to the bedroom are happily married, committed couples who will be around to help each other out of bed in the next morning.

If such a provision of law is ever enacted, the lawyers will have a field day fighting over whether it's constitutional.

And that would be an exhibition of just how much free speech money can buy.

We're all pretty tired of hearing what to do if our erection lasts for more than four hours.

Actually, I have never heard what you're supposed to do in this circumstance. What, do they give you some advice on ways one can put it to use?

I just figured that line was inserted as a sales pitch. You only need to be concerned if it's LONGER than four hours.

"If your erection is of sufficient mass to distort space and time, see a doctorate in physics immediately."

At least the TV ads require the drug companies to list all the side effects of what they are pushing. Lord knows you would never get good info from a doctor. "Take two of these and don't worry".

"I'd suggest simply taxing corn syrup"

In a less insane world we would simply stop spending billions subsidizing it's production.

Another sign of our degrading society.

I'm convinced that the kids who work for ad agencies hate Big Pharma so much that they design crappy, bizarre and ineffective ads. Virtually every one weirds me out and I can think of no other explanation than sabotage.

Big Pharma spent billions developing and getting their products approved by the FDA to bring to the market. what's wrong with advertising their products. I don't see you bitching about car ads or the ever presents class action legal ads by Sckolov & Sckolov or the legal boys Binder & Binder.

I seem to recall Clinton's 1993 tax hike revoked federal tax deductions for lobbying expenses.

Was that upheld? If so that may provide authority in a court case over this proposal.

If you believe the commercials, an inexplicable side effect of Cialis is that users feel compelled to go out and purchase two old fashioned, cast iron bathtubs and lug them wherever they go. Why not ONE big cast iron bathtub? Why not just a couple of BEACH TOWELS? In the latest commercial every happy couple is shown in various locales ensconsed separately in these his and hers bathtubs. Soft of defeats the purpose of Cialis, doesn't it?

Tom Tomorrow nails the industrial health complex again:


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