Navigation Links
Legal loophole exposes Canadians to drug advertising banned in US: UBC research

A legal loophole is counteracting Canada's ban on direct-to-consumer drug advertising and has exposed Canadians to more than $90 million worth of ads, including those for drugs with life-threatening risks, according to a study by UBC researchers.

Barbara Mintzes, Steve Morgan and James M. Wright from UBC's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research analyzed advertising spending on prescription drugs from 1995 to 2006 and saw spending rise from less than $2 million per year prior to 1999 to more than $22 million in 2006.

The study is published today in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE and available at

The increase in advertising spending coincided with a policy change in 2000, when Health Canada allowed "reminder ads" ads that state the brand name without additional information or health claims under the price advertising provision in the Food & Drug Act. This provision was created in the 1970s to allow consumers to compare prices of prescription drugs.

"This loophole is being exploited to advertise prescription-only medicines to the Canadian public, including those with U.S. 'black-box' warnings and those subject to Health Canada safety advisories," says Mintzes, an assistant professor in the UBC Dept. of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two developed countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs. However, the U.S. prohibits reminder ads with a "black box" warning the country's strongest regulatory warning of serious harmful side effects. Canada is the only country in the world where prescription drug advertising to the public is banned while "reminder ads" of such drugs are allowed.

"It makes no sense to issue safety advisories telling physicians to prescribe a drug cautiously while turning a blind eye to a loophole that allows persuasive advertisements that make the same drug look like an effortless key to happiness and good health," says Mintzes.

The UBC study found that of the eight drugs most heavily advertised on television in 2005-06, four had black box warnings and five had been subject to Health Canada safety advisories.

Despite the recent increase in drug advertising in Canada, the study shows Canadian per capita spending is still far below the U.S. level. From 1995-2006, U.S. companies spent more than $38 billion on ads to the public for prescription medicines, compared to $191 million in Canada. This is likely one of a number of factors contributing to overall lower drug spending here, according to the researchers.

"Research has shown that the greater exposure to these ads, the greater the effect on medicine use and costs," says Morgan, an associate professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health. "And there is conspicuously little evidence to suggest this is a net benefit to the population's health or to the health care system."


Contact: Brian Lin
University of British Columbia

Related medicine news :

1. Sunrise Provides Status Report on Special Independent Committee Investigation; Provides Updates on Managements Internal Control Review Efforts and on Legal Proceedings
2. Precyse Executive Authors New Book, The Legal Health Record
3. Los Angeles Jewish Home Support Group Continues High-Profile Speaker Program With Noted Legal Scholar and Expert Laurie L. Levenson
4. New Analysis Underscores Legality of Physician Ranking and Public Reporting Systems When Used by Health Insurers to Improve Health Care Quality
5. Draft Rules Wont Stop Insurers Illegal Cancellations of Health Policies
6. Penn wins $5M to start center for ethical, legal and social implications research
7. Understanding College Student Mental Health: The Psychological, Institutional and Legal Issues
8. Legal Employer Provides Companies with Competitive Edge by Assuring Consumers that Workers are Legally Documented
9. New Legal Momentum Publication Exposes How Abstinence-Only Programs Harm Women and Girls
10. When the rules of the game are broken: Research studies sports injuries related to illegal activity
11. Legal exposure to asbestos-like material linked to lung damage 25 years later
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in the delivery ... as part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab participated with ... Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP). ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, ... towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The ... social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which ... current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the ... is the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, ... he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as a naval ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and fastest growing franchisors and ... flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway 190, in January of ... Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows it to serve both ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)...  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ... Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts , ... offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... regulations. ... a flu shot is by the end of October, according to the ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and named ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee , ... 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care ... "In an interoperable ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the ... by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC ... brand, which included the unveiling of new signage at ... as well as at a few other company-owned facilities ... brand to patients, some of whom will begin to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: