Did You Know You Have Been Paying for Drug Company Ads?

Drug companies have too much influence in Washington, D.C. – so it figures we’re one of the only nations in the world that allows both advertising of prescription drugs to consumers and for those ads to be subsidized by taxpayers.

Under current law, drugmakers can fully deduct the cost of television, online, magazine, and radio ads from their taxes—-all while continuing to hike drug prices for all Americans. You might be tired of paying for it with your taxes.

In 2015 alone, drug companies in the U.S. spent more than $6 billion on fully tax-deductible advertising expenses.

According to the Internal Revenue Code “ordinary and necessary” business expenses are tax deductible, including most advertising costs.

The direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs, however, should not be treated the same as other advertising, since in many cases it disperses deceptive information, hinders the patient-doctor relationship, encourages patients to choose drug-based solutions over lifestyle-based ones, reduces the amount spent on research and development, and increases spending on drugs without a corresponding health benefit.

In the case of psychotropic drugs, clearly these ads dispense deceptive information, as we have repeatedly written about. In the face of these compelling public policy justifications, the Tax Code could be revised to deny tax deductions for DTCA. While the First Amendment protects free speech, this protection does not require Congress to continue to subsidize DTCA.

Hence Senate Bill S.2478 has been introduced into Congress – “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to deny the deduction for advertising and promotional expenses for prescription drugs” [115th Congress, 2017-2018].

The real problem with the psycho-pharmaceutical industry is that psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose life’s problems as an “illness”, stigmatize unwanted behavior as  “diseases,” and prescribe harmful and addictive drugs to keep patients in the mental health care system. Psychiatry’s stigmatizing labels, programs and treatments are harmful junk science; their diagnoses of “mental disorders” are a hoax – unscientific, fraudulent and harmful. Why are we continuing to subsidize their advertising? Contact your U.S. Senators to support S.2478.

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