Advertising of prescription medicines should be banned


Consumer New Zealand is campaigning for direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medicines to be banned.

Consumer says the advertisements don’t provide people with useful information.

The advertisements sell the promise of a quick fix, but Consumer doesn’t think they provide all the facts needed for people to make an informed choice.

A study has found that people with “unhealthier” lifestyles are more likely to buy into medical marketing for conditions that could otherwise be improved by exercising, eating healthier and cutting back on alcohol.

The study of more than 2057 New Zealanders was carried out by the University of Otago and published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

The researchers are calling for regulatory changes regarding the advertising of medicines.

Another 2014 study concluded that DTCA is a biased source of health information and is associated with unnecessary prescribing, iatrogenic harm and unnecessary costs to the taxpayer.

New Zealand and the USA are the only two countries in the developed world that allow DTCA.

In the US, medical marketing is regulated.

The Ministry of Health has been consulting on whether the law should continue to allow medicine advertising.

Consumer has made a submission favouring a ban.

They will be providing the results of their latest research to the ministry and Minister of Health David Clark.

The Council of Medical Colleges of New Zealand, the New Zealand Medical Association, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and the New Zealand Nurses Association also back a ban.

A statement on behalf of all four New Zealand Departments of General Practice/Primary Care states that “The misleading method of marketing our most powerful and potentially most harmful medicines should be banned.”


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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