Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

August 18, 2014 2:51 PM

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Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

In the late 1990s, under the guise of corporate "freedom of speech" initiatives, drug companies pressed for the right to advertise their products directly to consumers. For the previous 70 years, the FDA, whose mandate is to protect the public from impure, ineffective, or dangerous drugs or food, believed that pharmaceutical promotions were best filtered through doctors, who were thought to be better judges of the difference between fact and commercial hype.

Nonetheless, drug companies pressed the case of "patient education" and their rights of free speech. Within the U.S. climate of corporate rights, there were legal precedents for allowing direct advertisement to consumers. Shire and Janssen began to lobby for the right to direct-advertise their contr...

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