Group says YouTube medical device ads may be illegal

A consumer group has raised a protest over a group of ads for medical devices running on video site YouTube, arguing that the ads may be illegal. The group, Prescription Project, would like to see regulators crack down on the vendors involved, including Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Inc. and Stryker Corp. Ads cited by the group include promotions for Medtronic's artificial spine disk Prestige and Abbott's drug-coated stent Xience.

Prescription Project says the devicemakers are exploiting a loophole in the law governing direct-to-consumer ads. The FDA requires medical devicemakers and drugmakers to give a balanced picture of benefits and risks of their products when they run TV ads, but to date it's not clear whether the law also applies to promotions on sites like YouTube.

In its FDA petition, the group is asking the agency to order the vendors to remove the ads from the web. It's also asking the FDA to specify that online ads must meet the same standards as TV ads.

To learn more about the protest:
- read this Associated Press piece

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