AMA Calls for Ban on Prescription Ads, and Other News

Person watches tv while eating popcornConsumers are accustomed to seeing ads for antidepressants, sleep aids, and anti-anxiety drugs in between their favorite shows. Direct-to-consumer marketing became legal in 1985 and skyrocketed in 1997 when the Food and Drug Administration relaxed requirements to warn consumers of side effects. The American Medical Association (AMA)—the largest association of physicians in the United States—has called for the practice to end.

The move came in the wake of a vote at the group’s policy-making meeting. Supporters of the ban say prescription drug advertising drives up health care costs and increases demand for inappropriate treatment. A person whose depression makes sleep difficult, for instance, might demand sleeping pills instead of pursuing therapy and antidepressants. Expenditures on prescription drug advertisements have risen to $4.5 billion—a 30% increase over the last two years. This increase coincides with a 5% increase in drug prices this year alone.

The AMA’s new policy means the organization will now begin lobbying for a ban and may work to educate consumers about the negative effects of prescription drug advertising.

Barbie Ad Features a Boy for the First Time

As retailers such as Target work to remove gendered toy aisles and many parents continue to express concern about gendered marketing, a Barbie ad has now featured a boy for the first time. The ad for Moschino Barbie features a young boy proclaiming that the doll is “so fierce,” then putting a purse over the doll’s arm.

Autism Numbers Are High, But New Spike is Linked to Survey Changes

New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest autism rates have increased to 1 in 45 children. The change may be due to the survey’s structure. The survey specifically asks about Asperger’s—a diagnosis the 2013 DSM revisions eliminated.

The Unlikely PTSD Therapy: Puppies

Spending time with animals, especially puppies, may help ease symptoms of stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Now, veterans with traumatic brain injuries and posttraumatic stress are often being paired with dogs who will act as service animals and companions, increasing independence and potentially improving well-being.

Eviction Ups Risk of Suicide

A large Swedish study suggests people who have recently been evicted are 4 times as likely to commit suicide. Many of these suicides occur when a court issues an eviction order, but before the tenant has actually left or been forced out of the property. The researchers found that when people had lost their legal right to their dwelling and the landlord had requested the eviction, suicide was 9 times more likely.

Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable?

Research is increasingly finding that being overweight does not cause psychological problems; instead, psychological problems are usually caused by the judgment, teasing, and bullying many people with weight issues face. People who are overweight are more likely to report psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem if they have faced weight-based discrimination.

Kaiser, Therapists Avert Strike, Propose 15% Raise

Kaiser Permanente has had a number of disputes with its mental health clinicians in recent years, including a strike earlier in 2015. California fined the organization $4 million for failure to provide adequate mental health care in 2014. Now, Kaiser has avoided another strike from its mental health providers by agreeing to a 15% pay increase over three years. Kaiser will abandon plans to cut pensions and will review retirement benefits. The agreement also calls for a 1-to-4 ratio of new to returning patients, which therapists say will improve access and care quality.

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  • Lora


    November 20th, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    The thing about those rx ads is that they only make me NOT want to have to take the drug after they list all of the things that could happen as a result of taking the pill. Usually I am like no thanks, I will just keep the sickness that I have rather than taking the chances of the potential side effects of those!

  • Geoff


    November 21st, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    If the numbers for autism now include Aspergers even though it is not a recognized diagnosis then I just don’t get why the survey would include those numbers?

  • Linda L.

    Linda L.

    November 21st, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    We have to understand that the eviction is going to put many people who are already on that borderline, this will send them right over the edge. I know that landlords have to consider their business too, but it must be an awful experience to realize that you are facing losing your home and have no where else to go.

  • crawford


    November 23rd, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    pet therapy is a pretty accepted form of treatment in many instances

  • Mac


    November 23rd, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    So the days of seeing ads for drugs are not completely over, but it does seem that with the power of this organization behind this then chances are a whole lot better that the ads could soon be banned.
    I agree that the ads do nothing but fan the flames for people who already think that they have something wrong with them. It makes them even more inclined to want to seek out drugs when they really don’t need them.

  • heath


    November 24th, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Is this Kaiser like insurance or something? Have they been saying that they will cut reimbursement rates or something like that>

  • Mason


    November 25th, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Now how do you think that barbie ad would really go over in real life? I suspect that there are many homes in which this would be viewed too far outside of the proverbial box and that these boys would be ashamed to admit in their homes that they would like to have or play with a Barbie.
    I think that the number of homes that would be very accepting of that would be small.

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