FDA Launches “Bad Ad Program”

Today, the FDA announced a new initiative to assist the agency in combating misleading advertisements by prescription drug makers.

The initiative, entitled the “Bad Ad Program,” is part of an FDA-sponsored outreach effort intended to “educate health care providers about their role in ensuring that prescription drug advertising and promotion is truthful, and not misleading.” The plan is being implemented and overseen by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (DDMAC). Today’s FDA press release explains the initiative.

Although prescription drug manufacturers have long been subject to DDMAC’s oversight, in the past the agency’s ability to enforce advertising rules has been limited, given that violations came to DDMAC’s attention only by way of its review of written materials that drug makers submit for approval. The “Bad Ad Program” is a multi-phase campaign that will seek to educate physicians and health care providers about how to spot and report misleading advertisements, particularly misinformation that is conveyed to physicians in private.