Congress to Probe 'Misleading' Drug Ads

Cholesterol, anemia drugs in spotlight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2008 3:10 AM CDT
House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee Chairman Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., heads a subcommittee looking into drug advertising.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A congressional panel will examine three ad campaigns as part of a move to tighten regulations on drug companies' direct-to-consumer marketing, the Wall Street Journal reports. The committee will focus on ads for cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Lipitor, and anemia drug Procrit, which has been promoted as an anti-fatigue drug despite FDA demands not to do so.

Pfizer officials will also be quizzed about ads in which the inventor of the artificial heart appears to be giving medical advice—despite never having practiced medicine. Spending on drug marketing has soared since rules were relaxed and companies have fought hard against efforts to tighten regulations.