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Prescription Medicines Advertising Under Review

Direct To Consumer Advertising Of Prescription Medicines Under Review

A document that discusses future policy options for direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines in New Zealand has been released today for consultation.

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicines in New Zealand - A Discussion Paper, seeks public comment on whether there should be changes to the current regime of DTCA of prescription medicines, and if so, what they could be. The review was instigated at the request of the Minister of Health.

Deputy Director General Personal and Family Health, David Lambie said we need to ensure that New Zealand has a DTCA policy that is in the best interest of New Zealand consumers, is safe, and as practicable and as cost effective as possible.

"This document outlines the current policy for DTCA of prescription medicines and provides a range of options on the future of DTCA. Pending the outcome of this process, the appropriateness of DTCA of over the counter products, both manufactured and natural, may be investigated."

New Zealand and the United States are the only industrialised countries that allow DTCA of prescription medicines. Expenditure in New Zealand on prescription and over the counter DTCA is estimated to be $48 million during 2000, an increased of 41.7 per cent on 1999. DTCA on prescription drugs was up 23.6 per cent in 2000 to around $17.9 million.

Submissions on the discussion document close February 14. A report is expected to be presented to the Minister of Health by late March.

A full copy of the discussion document can be found under publications on the Ministry of Health website


For more information contact: Selina Gentry, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2483 or 025-277-5411 Internet address:

Selina Gentry Media Liaison Communications DDI: 496 2483 Fax: 496 2010 Ministry of Health

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