Edwards suggests new drug ads wait for two years

LACONIA, N.H. Presidential hopeful John Edwards said Sunday he had outlined a plan to regulate prescription drug companies and their advertising. Edwards suggested that drug makers wait two years to begin advertising their new products to consumers since the cost of advertising has escalated to nearly $4 billion over the past decade.

The two-year delay would prevent television ads from driving consumers to drugs that haven’t been proven safe, said Edwards, who also would require drug companies to get Food and Drug Administration approval before launching major ad campaigns.

“I think two years makes sense. I think it gives enough time for a drug not just to have been tested in clinical trials but to be out among the public, to see what kind of adverse reactions there have been,’’ he told reporters afterward.

Edwards’ plan also includes augmented penalties for companies that violate truth-in-advertising laws, and would require companies to disclose more information about a drug’s side effects and effectiveness compared to placebos and less expensive alternative drugs.

The Democratic hopeful said this idea would ensure that “salesmanship is not trumping the facts, so people learn what the real risks are associated with these drugs,” Edwards said.

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