Representatives of the nation'spharmaceutical manufacturers areopposing radical new legislation underconsideration in Montana that wouldrequire them to disclose how muchthey spend to promote their drugs inthe state. The bill is a response to concernsraised by some consumer groupsthat escalating prescription drug advertisingexpenditures are fueling theincrease in medication prices in Montanaand elsewhere.
Although industry spending onproduct promotion has risen in recentyears due to new federal rules allowingdirect-to-consumer ads for prescriptiondrugs, pharmaceuticalindustry leaders contend that risingRx prices reflect sky-high research anddevelopment expenditures, not advertisingcosts.
Studies by the US GovernmentAccountability Office (GAO) supportthis argument. According to GAOresearchers, drug manufacturers spentnearly $119 million on research anddevelopment from 1997 to 2001, comparedwith less than $10 million onconsumer advertising.
Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.