ANA Opposes DTC Advertising Bill in Oregon Legislature

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) today joined with several other major industry groups in filing comments opposing a bill in the Oregon State Senate that would impose a mandatory disclosure requirement on all direct to consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical ads that appear in any media in the state. Senate Bill 792 would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose the wholesale price paid by pharmacies in the state (or the manufacturer’s list price under an amendment from the bill’s sponsor) in all ads for prescription drug products. Failure to include that information could lead to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each publication or broadcast of the ad.

“The Oregon bill raises very serious First Amendment and interstate commerce concerns and would be counterproductive for consumers,” said Dan Jaffe, Group Executive Vice President of Government Relations for ANA. “While the target here is the pharmaceutical industry, this legislation would set a very dangerous precedent for a wide range of other products or services that may become controversial. Marketers could face threats from more than 30,000 state and local governments that seek to mandate specific disclosures in their ads.”

ANA was joined in the comments by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), and the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.   

Jaffe stated: “DTC advertising is already heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assure that it is truthful and non-deceptive. Most of the advertising for these products is placed in media outside the state of Oregon, but this bill would impose a state-specific disclosure of price information that can vary significantly across the state. This approach is totally unworkable.”   

The industry comments note that there are a number of factors that determine the price consumers will pay for prescription drugs at a pharmacy, many of which are out of control of the manufacturer. The price can vary significantly from one pharmacy to another, across the state of Oregon or even within the same city and requiring the price disclosures will be both unhelpful and possibly misleading. Senate Bill 792 would compel manufacturers to include information in all of their ads for every prescription product that will fail to further any public interest.  

Jaffe concluded: “DTC advertising is under attack in the Congress and now in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. This advertising provides valuable information for consumers and we will continue to oppose any efforts in Congress or the states to impose unreasonable restrictions on this category.”