After years of threats, warnings, complaints, and handwringing, the Senate finally dropped the proposed 2 year ban on DTC for new products in the Kennedy-Enzi drug safety bill now heading toward President Bush's desk.
Adopts Stephen Colbert voice: "I called it!" Looks like the awesome power of PhRMA's lobbyists prevailed once again.
The most comical statement made to explain all of this was by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). From the Star-Ledger:
[Harkin] "said the compromise provisions in the bill will require the FDA to preview every ad to insure it has adequate safety information and that all side effects are stated in clear and concise language. He said the FDA will be able to fine drugmakers if their ads are false and misleading."
Er, isn't this what the law already requires?
"This is a shot across the bow. If the companies don't rein it in and be responsible, tougher measures will be coming," Harkin told the Ledger.
Ooooh! I'm scared!
Please, Harkin, your position is ridiculous. We've had 10 years of DTC. Either it's fine the way it is or it needs to be reined in. If it needed reining in, then this was the chance to do it. And you balked. No one believes that Congress will ever again take serious action to change DTC rules.
Everyone involved in the DTC business can now go back to work -- it's business as usual, folks.