Docket Management
Docket: 02N-0209 - Request for Comment on First Amendment Issues
Comment Number: EC -265

Accepted - Volume 4

Comment Record
Commentor Mr. Tim Loomis Date/Time 2002-07-29 16:05:09
Organization Mannatech
Category Individual

Comments for FDA General
1. Are there arguments for regulating speech about drugs more comprehensively than, for example, about dietary supplements? What must an administrative record contain to sustain such a position? In particular, could FDA sustain a position that certain promotional speech about drugs is inherently misleading, unless it complies with FDA requirements? Does anything turn on whether the speech is made to learned intermediaries or to consumers? What is the evidentiary basis of such a distinction? Drugs are poison, even if they are FDA approved. Dietary supplements can be a food source or a poison. The consumers need to be warned and if the learned intermediaries don't know, we are in trouble.
2. Is FDA's current position regarding direct-to-consumer and other advertisements consistent with empirical research on the effects of those advertisements, as well as with relevant legal authority? What are the positive and negative effects, if any, of industry's promotion of prescription drugs, biologics, and/or devices? Does the current regulatory approach and its implementation by industry lead to over-prescription of drugs? Do they increase physician visits or patient compliance with medication regimes? Do they cause patient visits that lead to treatment for under-diagnosed diseases? Does FDA's current approach and its implementation by industry lead to adequate treatment for under-diagnosed diseases? Do they lead to adequate patient understanding of the potential risks associated with use of drugs? Does FDA's current approach and its implementation by industry create any impediments to the ability of doctors to give optimal medical advice or prescribe optimal treatment? Because most drugs are not a cure, just masking the sympton, people get stuck in an ever widening circle of more drugs to counter act the results of the 1st drugs. We need natural supplements let the body do it's own work.
3. May FDA distinguish claims concerning conventional foods from those relating to dietary supplements, taking into account limits on claims that can be made about foods in the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, 21 U.S.C. 301, 321, 337, 343, 371? What must an administrative record contain to sustain or deny claims on food labels? How can information best be presented in a succinct but non-misleading fashion? To what extent do assertions in claims need qualifications or disclaimers added to the label to avoid any misconceptions that consumers may draw? Is there a basis to believe that consumers approach claims about conventional foods and dietary supplements differently? No, I do not think that consumers approach claims between conventional foods & Dietary supplements differently
4. Should disclaimers be required to be in the same (or smaller or larger) size of type and given equal prominence with claims? Is there any relevant authority or social science research on this issue? Disclaimers need to be as prominate as the claim.
5. How can warnings be made most effective in preventing harm while minimizing the chances of consumer confusion or inattention? Is there any evidence as to which types of warnings consumers follow or disregard? Not that I know of. They are told that cigarette smoking is bad for them and that doesn't seem to slow them down.
6. What arguments or social science evidence, if any, can be used to support distinguishing between claims made in advertisements and those made on labels? Does the First Amendment and the relevant social science evidence afford the Government greater latitude over labels? Yes, the government has greater latitude over labels, just making them mention the side effects in the ads is all you can do.
7. Would permitting speech by manufacturer, distributor, and marketer about off-label uses undermine the act's requirement that new uses must be approved by the FDA? If so, how? If not, why not? What is the extent of FDA's ability to regulate speech concerning off-label uses? I think you can regulaqte the printed or published statements, but you will have aq hard time with just the spoken word.
8. Do FDA's speech-related regulations advance the public health concerns they are designed to address? Are there other alternative approaches that FDA could pursue to accomplish those objectives with fewer restrictions on speech? No, I don't think so. We need to better educate the consumer and have each and everyone of us take more responsibility for our own health.
9. Are there any regulations, guidance, policies, and practices FDA should change, in light of governing First Amendment authority? We need to simply state that we don't care what is going on in other countries, we are not interested in standardization of the entire world, we simply want to make sure that our lives and liberties are not taken away from us (i.e., we want the right to buy anything natural, as long as it is not toxic) and that if a law would be passed that will take this right away that we are against it!!!

EC -265