Who will pay for DTC pharma ad oversight?

Right now, there's a little-watched debate underway on the Hill which could have a meaningful influence on the growth of direct-to-consumer pharma advertising. The question is whether Congress should continue to fund such oversight, or whether the pharmas should fund DTC ad reviews with "user fees."  Officials with the FDA, which has a $6.1 million budget for determining the accuracy and fairness of DTC ads, are concerned that it won't have enough funding to review the growing influx of ads. Right now, it has 13 employees who review the ads, but they were swamped with a staggering 12,616 ads to review last year. 

To boost employee rolls, President Bush has requested $14 million in user fees from the pharmaceutical industry in his FY 2009 budget. The problem with having the pharmas fund the research, critics say, is that this might give them undue influence over the process.

To learn more about the debate:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item

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