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NZMA calls for ban on DTCA

NZMA calls for ban on DTCA

The NZMA is calling on the Government to prohibit Direct to Consumer Advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines in New Zealand.

‘The NZMA has been reviewing its position on DTCA of prescription medicines and has now decided that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits,’ says NZMA Chairman Dr Tricia Briscoe. ‘We believe it is time for the Government to move into line with most other countries in prohibiting DTCA.’

‘This is a change in our position, but our previous reluctant acceptance of DTCA was always based on the need for stronger self-regulation and the principle that pharmaceutical companies must not test the boundaries of self-regulation.’

‘Indeed, our policy read: “…our support for continuing but enhanced self-regulation is conditional on the industry that it is meticulous in its application of self-regulation…there is no room in the DTCA regimen for ‘testing the boundaries”. If the NZMA cannot be sure that industry self-regulation protects the health and safety of New Zealanders, we will reconsider our position.”

‘In our view,’ says Dr Briscoe, ’The pharmaceutical industry, the advertising industry and the Ministry of Health have had plenty of time to make the changes recommended by the 2001 Ministerial Review of DTCA, but have failed to take action. In some instances, pharmaceutical companies have continued to “test the boundaries”.’

‘We no longer have confidence that self-regulation is sufficient to protect the interests of either patients or doctors, nor do we feel that greater government regulation would provide adequate protection. We have therefore come to the conclusion that DTCA of prescription medicines should be prohibited.’

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