The American Medical Association says it will further study the issue of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs, because of concerns over the effects these advertisements have on the doctor-patient relationship as well as healthcare costs.

“Research clearly indicates that direct-to-consumer advertising increases the demand for specific medication,” said AMA trustee, Cyril Hetsko. “We will study the overall effect of this advertising on patient care and consider strategies that could minimise its potential negative impact.”

The announcement comes just days after Bristol-Myers Squibb launched a new DTC advertising code, saying it would wait at least a year before advertising a new product to consumers, in order to spend more time educating doctors on the drug [[15/06/05e]]. It also said it would only advertise on television “to appropriate audiences at appropriate times of the day.”

The debate over DTC advertising has raged for a long time. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration said it would be drawing up new guidelines regarding the practice [[13/05/04g]].