Silly is as Silly does

  • by: |
  • 07/21/2006

Our friend, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, just called pharmaceutical advertising “silly” and said that Congress should enact a two-year moratorium … if it would hold up in court.

Nice two-step Tim.

Coincidentally, Governor Pawlenty is in a tough reelection battle with Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, author of the infamous 51-page, “Follow the Money: The Pharmaceutical Industry — The Other Drug Cartel.”

Silly? Only if getting more people to visit their physicians is silly. Silly? Only if earlier diagnosis of diabetes and heart disease is silly. Silly? Only if the distigmatization of depression and, yes, even erectile dysfunction, is silly.

Governor Tim also repeated the anti-pharma NewSpeak that drug ads raise drug prices. Sorry Gov — not so. When you compare all the drugs in any given therapeutic category, the ones that advertise the most do not always cost the most. In short, no correlation between ad spending and product cost.

To further flex the Governor’s pecs, Brian McClung, Pawlenty’s spokesman, noted that Pawlenty took on the White House early in the administration with a “first-in-the-nation” proposal to facilitate the buying of less expensive drugs in Canada.

But, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “… only about 18,000 prescriptions were ever obtained under the program, despite Pawlenty’s prediction that 700,000 Minnesotans would benefit.”

Silly indeed.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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