Oh Say Can you OTC?

  • by: |
  • 11/07/2007
Had a look at the Non-Prescription Drug Modernization yet? It was just introduced by Representative Henry Waxman (R, CA), Representative Tom Allen (D, ME), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D, MA.). It’s a well-meaning, but knee-jerk reaction in response to the recent FDA advisory committee vote over banning over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children under six.

Here’s a link to the legislation:


Among other things, this bill would allow the FDA to ban marketing of the drugs while the rulemaking process was still under way.

That’s right – “ban” advertising.

We’ve already covered how we feel about the recent AdComm vote (see two October 19th posts, “Dosing for Dummies” and “Cough, Sniffle, Sneeze – No OTC Meds for Children, Please”). Per this new legislation, we concur with our friend Adonis Hoffman over at the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Here’s what Adonis has to say:

"We are all concerned about the cough and cold medications for children that have been in the news reports lately. Nobody benefits from false or misleading advertising of any kind, whether it is for over-the-counter or prescription medications."

He also, wisely, point out that there are already "ample and appropriate regulatory penalties in place to handle these problems. The authority of both the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration is intact. I'm not sure whether there is a need for new changes."

Hopefully this will be a robust debate over how good communications can improve the public health -- not another public flogging of the industry.

Just call us starry-eyed optimists.

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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