Next month, the FDA will be celebrating the first birthday of their brain child, the Bad Ad Program…
Whaaaat? You mean you’ve never heard of the Bad Ad program? Well, we wouldn’t blame you. Since the program began in May of 2010 there have been over 239 complaints. Nope, not 239,000… but 239 total.
The basic premise of this program is “to educate healthcare providers about the role they can play in helping the agency make sure that prescription drug advertising and promotion is truthful and not misleading” (source: www.fda.gov).
Launched by the FDA’s Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communication, it has commissioned a small secret police, whoops, I mean agency, which takes into account the various sorts of advertising violations. Maybe it has good intentions but what people have been mainly complaining about with this program is healthcare providers reporting “illegitimate” therapies and medicines in order to diminish competition.
For example, what one company sells for $50 was anonymously reported by a company that sells the same product for $200. So the real question becomes, is this really for the good of the people or for the good of the profits?
We have freedom of speech, why can we not have freedom of ad? There are over 100,000 different types of herbal medicines whose statements [of their benefit or risk] have not been evaluated by the FDA. So why start now?
Successful or not, the main question is: Is it right for large corporations, such as the FDA, to control ADS, while not giving other large corporations the sanction to control for other businesses advertisement?
Who deems a slap on the wrist and who deems complete exile?