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NZMA welcomes DTCA decision


FROM: Dr John Adams, NZMA Chairman

DATE: 14 August, 2001

SUBJECT: NZMA welcomes DTCA decision

The New Zealand Medical Association welcomes the decision by Health Minister Annette King to tighten the rules for direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals.

The NZMA supports the Government's decision to strengthen the rules and regulations for DTCA, while continuing with industry self-regulation.

"DTCA offers some benefits, such as educating people about medical conditions, and treatment options," said NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams. "But there is also a potential for it to damage the patient/doctor relationship. We have heard reports of doctors being pressured by patients wanting medicines they have seen advertised, when there is no clinical need for them."

Dr Adams said most pharmaceutical companies, and the advertising and publishing communities, have taken a responsible approach to the self-regulation of DTCA.

"But some advertisements, particularly on television, have been excessively dramatic and emotional in style, and were aimed at persuading a vulnerable group to approach their doctors, in order to get them to prescribe the product.

"We will be pleased if this is no longer allowed. Pharmaceutical companies must stay within the spirit of the regulations, and not continually test the boundaries."

The NZMA is keen to consult with the Ministry of Health about possible changes to DTCA.

ENDS

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