Docket Management
Docket: 02N-0209 - Request for Comment on First Amendment Issues
Comment Number: EC -75

Accepted - Volume 1

Comment Record
Commentor Mr. Don Klumpp Date/Time 2002-05-30 08:04:55
Organization Mr. Don Klumpp
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 and dietary supplements should be on equal footing. Scientific fact should be the only determination for either fact or fiction and not the influence of the pharmaceutical companies. I realize that the words scientific fact has different meanings to the pharmaceutical companies and to the general public. If this were not true, we would not have such a high percentage of the US public using alternative medicines, cures and vitamins against the wishes of AMA, the FDA, and your local pharmatist.
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? FDA currently seems to condone misleading advertising in the many TV ads which nauseate us daily. The ads promote beauty of person and location to give basis for the claims of conventional drugs, while underplaying the potential risks.
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. Labels should contain scientific fact. Dietary supplements and alternative cures must be given the same protections, the same requirements in labeling and advertising as so-called mainstream medicine.
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 and claims should have the same size type.
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? see 4
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? Claims should be the same for both ads and labels.
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? Why should any government entity be able to govern free speech?
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? The FDA should distance themselves from the drug companies. Drug companies should not be permitted to keep alternative medicines or cures from the market place. Alternative medicines or cures, due to their natural properties make it impossible for the drug companies to patent and in turn make obscene profits from the American public, especially the elderly.
9. Are there any regulations, guidance, policies, and practices FDA should change, in light of governing First Amendment authority? see 9

EC -75