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    Have You or Your Loved Ones Been Hurt by This Ad? Congressman Wants to Know

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/have-yo...now-1492162205

    Plaintiffs’ lawyers have long solicited clients through television advertisements that warn of a drug’s potentially harmful side effects.

    Now, a powerful congressman, backed by the leading doctors’ group and some drug companies, is pushing back, saying the ads are to blame for patients suffering harm or even dying after dropping treatment. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants the ads to include a warning that patients should talk with their doctors before adjusting medication.

    “Have you or a loved one been prescribed the blood thinner Xarelto as a treatment for reducing the risk of stroke?” one such advertisement begins, before detailing possible harms from the Johnson & Johnson drug and the prospect of compensation. “Remember, these drugs are linked to serious and potentially fatal health problems, including serious and sometimes fatal internal bleeding,” the spot concludes. “Call for more information and a free case review.”

    J&J referred questions to John Beisner, who heads the mass-torts group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and has represented J&J and other drug companies. The ads “really are designed to scare potential claimants,” he said.

    Mr. Goodlatte sent letters to state and national attorney bar associations last month calling on them to better regulate the ads. The push follows a recommendation made by the American Medical Association to include disclaimers in the ads not to make medical decisions without consulting a doctor.

    The letters point to a recent review of safety reports to the Food and Drug Administration, conducted by J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals business, that identified 28 cases of strokes and other serious side effects, including two deaths, of patients who health-care professionals say stopped using Xarelto after watching TV ads.



    American Bar Association President Linda Klein said in a response to Mr. Goodlatte that while it is unfortunate if anyone suffered ill consequences by misunderstanding the ads, attorneys have a First Amendment right to advertise and the public benefits from knowing if drugs are potentially harmful.

    Backers of the ads say the pushback is the latest attempt at tort reform by corporate interests and that lawsuits uncover dangers that drugmakers try to play down or hide from the public. They point to major civil settlements, such as Merck & Co. agreeing in 2007 to pay $4.85 billion over its pain medication Vioxx, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. agreeing to a $2.4 billion settlement in 2015 over claims that diabetes drug Actos allegedly caused cancer.

    “I can assure you, lawyers have saved a hell of a lot more lives than they’re taking with these ads,” said Matt Daniel, a mass tort lawyer in Texas whose firm spends close to $20 million a year on TV advertising.


    A TV ad seeks plaintiffs for mass-tort cases.

    Xarelto was the drug most targeted by mass-tort TV lawyer ads in the U.S. last year, according to an analysis by data-analytics firm X Ante of data from Kantar Media CMAG. Lawyers spent an estimated $37 million on 128,800 national television ads related to Xarelto, Kantar data shows. That’s compared with an estimated $93 million J&J spent to advertise the drug in 31,370 TV spots. Local cable ads not captured by the data could boost the attorney spending, Kantar said.

    The competing advertisements face different levels of scrutiny.

    All drug-company advertisements are subject to FDA rules, including a requirement ads disclose a drug’s risk of side effects, and the agency can stop broadcast of an ad and seek changes if it doesn’t follow regulations. By contrast, the lawyer ads must conform to attorney ethics rules mandated by state bar associations requiring marketing to be honest and not fraudulent.

    While the ads technically fall under Federal Trade Commission jurisdiction, the agency has never pursued an investigation or action against mass tort attorney ads, said Mary Engle, the FTC’s director of ad practices. “We have to target our resources,” she said.


    Blood thinner Xarelto was the drug most targeted by mass-tort TV lawyer ads in the U.S. last year, according to an analysis by X Ante of data from Kantar Media CMAG. PHOTO: JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS

    Elizabeth Tippett, a law professor at the University of Oregon who has spent several years researching the potential consumer harms of mass tort ads, said she has found no public ethics complaints brought by state bar associations over the ads since a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving drug-injury ads.

    Critics say the lack of oversight has resulted in misleading commercials that raise consumer-safety concerns, an assertion plaintiffs’ lawyers dispute.

    “If people were dying as a result of seeing legal ads, I would have heard about this a long, long time ago,” said Bob Goldwater, a mass tort lawyer in Phoenix who spends upward of $25 million a year on TV ads.

    J&J faces 16,900 lawsuits in the U.S. brought by plaintiffs claiming Xarelto caused serious injury or death. So far, none have resulted in major payouts, though several bellwether trials are scheduled this spring as part of a nationwide consolidation of the suits.

    Xarelto, approved in 2011, belongs to a new generation of blood thinners aiming to better balance keeping blood thin enough to avoid clotting but sufficiently thick to prevent bleeding episodes. It notched $2.3 billion in U.S. sales last year and helped J&J offset sales lost when older drugs faced generic competition. In 2015, 7.4 million prescriptions for Xarelto were dispensed in the U.S., according to the latest figures from QuintilesIMS.

    Lawyers and others who follow the industry say that ads for any particular drug or device typically spike following FDA alerts about a new side effect, newly released medical research or first-mover lawsuits.

    “Our clients don’t read the Journal of Medicine,” said Mr. Daniel. “They’re sitting at home on their couch feeling miserable. The only effective way to reach out is through TV ads.”
    I was wondering what people think about this. While it's not really unreasonable, it does seem like the sort of legislation that should normally elicit a response of "personal responsibility" from many on the right. After all, lawyers aren't doctors and therefore maybe you shouldn't be taking what they say as medical advice. It's neither claimed to be such nor presented as such. If people impulsively make stupid decisions about whatever random thing happens on TV, isn't that entirely their fault? Shouldn't the edgelords among us be declaring "Natural selection at work!"?

    I don't really care about the legislation, but I do kind of worry that our response to "People do any random shit they see on TV" is to just slap a warning on it and forget about it, rather than do anything about the fact that people think doing any random shit they see on TV is a good idea in the first place or ask ourselves why that's the case. It's not like we're talking about children. These are adults, people who should have some semblance of an idea how to responsibly make decisions, and yet many of them apparently can't be trusted to exercise the least bit of sense. It seems like the only response to instances where that isn't the case is to infantilize them, solving the problem of the day, but not teaching them how to avoid the problem of the next week, month, or year.

  2. #2
    Scarab Lord Akaihiryuu's Avatar
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    I think advertising drugs should be 100% illegal in all circumstances. I do believe in personal responsibility of course, but drugs do not ever need to be advertised.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Akaihiryuu View Post
    I think advertising drugs should be 100% illegal in all circumstances. I do believe in personal responsibility of course, but drugs do not ever need to be advertised.
    This isn't about drug ads. This is about those ads looking for plaintiffs for lawsuits. Check the Youtube video in the article for an example.

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    Why don't you just leave it to your doctors to prescribe the best drugs to treat whatever you have, have them inform people about the sideffects of said drugs and not leave it to jo-schmo to use doctor Google to self prescribe.

  5. #5
    I don't understand why someone would drop a perscribed medication on the basis of an advert or a phone call. I also think encouraging them to do so, or their doing so is increadibly dangerous as with many medications.

    I can understand why people want to 'push back'. Surely the solution is to make any warnings both verbal and text, along the lines of "DO NOT CEASE ANY PERSCRIBED MEDICATION WITHOUT A LISENCED DOCTOR'S SAY SO" - by which I mean the verbal warning should come at the start of the advert while someone is listening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozyorkbourne View Post
    I don't understand why someone would drop a perscribed medication on the basis of an advert or a phone call.
    For the same reason they would go to their doctor and request a drug because the TV told them to. They MAY be stupid.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ozyorkbourne View Post
    I can understand why people want to 'push back'. Surely the solution is to make any warnings both verbal and text, along the lines of "DO NOT CEASE ANY PERSCRIBED MEDICATION WITHOUT A LISENCED DOCTOR'S SAY SO" - by which I mean the verbal warning should come at the start of the advert while someone is listening.
    I agree and they should probably reiterate it at the end of the commercial as well, since most of those commercials can come off as very doom and gloom or scary to some.

    I've noticed that it's mostly people of an older generation that seem to get most worried about these types of commercials, I remember even years ago (10+ years) when I worked at a retirement community, that ads like this would sometimes cause huge spikes in hospital trips and stays, because they'd get scared and go off of a life saving med all over a brightly colored and loud ad.

    It would be one thing if the ads inspired people to review their meds with their pharmacist and/or doctor, but as they stand right now, they're just garbage that get people worked up.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ozyorkbourne View Post
    I don't understand why someone would drop a perscribed medication on the basis of an advert or a phone call. I also think encouraging them to do so, or their doing so is increadibly dangerous as with many medications.

    I can understand why people want to 'push back'. Surely the solution is to make any warnings both verbal and text, along the lines of "DO NOT CEASE ANY PERSCRIBED MEDICATION WITHOUT A LISENCED DOCTOR'S SAY SO" - by which I mean the verbal warning should come at the start of the advert while someone is listening.
    No ad of this type that I have ever seen actually advises people to stop taking the medication. Doing so would almost certainly get them sued. The one in the article is very typical, where it's like "Hey, if you had serious side effects relating to this, you may be entitled to compensation. Here are some serious side effects of this medication."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Activi-T View Post
    Why don't you just leave it to your doctors to prescribe the best drugs to treat whatever you have, have them inform people about the sideffects of said drugs and not leave it to jo-schmo to use doctor Google to self prescribe.
    Unfortunately you won't have to look hard to find doctor's that over-prescribe certain drugs while glossing over their side-effects because the drug companies are nice to them.

  10. #10
    Advertising prescription drugs is illegal here. I don't understand why it isn't there.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Activi-T View Post
    Why don't you just leave it to your doctors to prescribe the best drugs to treat whatever you have, have them inform people about the sideffects of said drugs and not leave it to jo-schmo to use doctor Google to self prescribe.
    While I agree with no self prescribing, the sheer volume of drugs, side effects, and interactions is astounding, it's easy for the wrong med or wrong dosage to be prescribed, or for your doctor to not know about some of the side effects, especially since some side effects may not be acknowledged or published til well after your dr. learned of the drug in the 1st place. Sometimes drs don't keep abreast of the newest drugs, techniques, or alerts about currently used medications.

    It's always good to look up any meds you take for interactions with drugs you already take, or even supplements you might take, while pharmacists and drs have programs to catch interactions, they don't always work like they should and interactions can slip through the cracks. Just be sure that you're looking at a reliable source, of course.

    It's also good to ask your dr. about alternate drugs if the one you're using doesn't work or had side effects that you can't handle, or if you look up the drug and don't like the possible side effects.

    People need to be more proactive about their medical care, drs and pharmacists and even the software they rely on isn't infallible, but at the same time you can't just play dr and self diagnose, it's hard to balance.

  12. #12
    Yes, they should be allowed to have commercials notifying people of class action suits against the greedy drug companies. Unless there's a court order against them. First Amendment and all that.
    If it seems like I am acting stupid, there's probably a good reason for that.

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  14. #14
    I'm against these type of ads and the lawsuits they create, definitely. Personal responsibility is what it is but putting one speck of trust in the legal profession to actually handle this in a straight and legit manner is absurd, this is the new version of the ambulance chasing lawyer.

    For what it's worth I don't trust the drug/pharmaceutical companies either but examining the issue it's pretty clear that any legal team with enough resources can make a boogeyman out of any company and engage in legal extortion through these lawsuits. It's bullshit, and it's a rare thing that Big Pharma is less of a bad guy than someone but here there is no doubt the lawyers are much worse.
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    Immortal Lady Dragonheart's Avatar
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    I personally think that advertising prescription drugs to everyday people that aren't qualified to understand the nature of such drugs shouldn't be a thing, possibly even illegal. That sort of thing should be controlled by qualifying doctors and pharmacists, not the consumer.
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Vegas82 View Post
    Yes, they should be allowed to have commercials notifying people of class action suits against the greedy drug companies. Unless there's a court order against them. First Amendment and all that.
    That's not really the issue here.

    The issue is that these ads don't advise people at risk to talk to their doctor about the medications on whether or not to discontinue taking the drug. Some drugs you can not just drop at the first sign of trouble. Some have serious or semi serious withdrawal symptoms. These medications are meant to be gradually step down til you can function without it.

    IMO, there's nothing wrong with including a warning advising people to talk to their primary healthcare physician before discontinuing use of the drugs they're rallying against. Better to always err on the side of caution in these types of situations.
    Last edited by RampageBW1; 2017-04-14 at 07:00 PM.

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    The Lightbringer stabetha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegas82 View Post
    Yes, they should be allowed to have commercials notifying people of class action suits against the greedy drug companies. Unless there's a court order against them. First Amendment and all that.
    so greedy drug companies bad and greedy trail lawyers good?
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by stabetha View Post
    so greedy drug companies bad and greedy trail lawyers good?
    Not really, but helping people who are dealing with medical issues thanks to a shitty drug is a good thing. Even if it's just financially.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by RampageBW1 View Post
    That's not really the issue here.

    The issue is that these ads don't advise people at risk to talk to their doctor about the medications on whether or not to discontinue taking the drug. Some drugs you can not just drop at the first sign of trouble. Some have serious or semi serious withdrawal symptoms. These medications are meant to be gradually step down til you can function without it.

    IMO, there's nothing wrong with including a warning advising people to talk to their primary healthcare physician before discontinuing use of the drugs they're rallying against. Better to always err on the side of caution in these types of situations.
    The drugs themselves warn that you need to consult your doctor before stopping.
    If it seems like I am acting stupid, there's probably a good reason for that.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Vegas82 View Post
    The drugs themselves warn that you need to consult your doctor before stopping.
    Right, and your doctor should as well when applicable, which is why it seems strange that they're looking to pin responsibility on legal commercials, which are not reasonably construed as medical advice in the first place.

  20. #20
    Scarab Lord Akaihiryuu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puupi View Post
    Advertising prescription drugs is illegal here. I don't understand why it isn't there.
    Because large corporations own the government here. It's bought and paid for. They pretty much just buy their own laws.

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