My opinion: I believe the following actions merely constitute a starting point for changing these ads. Though some patients may take the additional disclaimer seriously, I think that many will just let it go through the ears, especially if it is a very fast disclaimer. Also, there's probably more to the story than the issue over who qualifies for the devices. Viewers don't always care if they qualify or not - they care more about if they want it or not. There have been some ads, such as the Lipitor ad with Dr. Jarvik, that twist or exaggerate the facts and hire body doubles to portray the drug users exercising. Shouldn't laws be aimed at this? Furthermore, even if the advertisements are perfect, and patients don't nag their doctors about having certain devices, medical representatives often visit doctors ad try to sway their opinions. Even at offices where this isn't allowed, publications by other doctors maybe biased, hence influencing all readers. So, in short, this AMA meeting may only be the tip of the iceberg. Are there any other ways to stop tricky ads? Feel free to comment.
AMA meeting: Tougher rules needed to stop misleading medical device ads
■ Delegates say DME distributors frequently misconstrue the process in which patients must follow to receive their supplies.
By Alicia Gallegos amednews staff — Posted July 1, 2013
Chicago Advertisers who promote durable medical equipment should follow tougher regulations to ensure that they do not mislead patients about how to obtain the products, according to a Board of Trustees report approved by the American Medical Association House of Delegates.
The report calls on the AMA to pursue legislation or regulations that require direct-to-consumer advertising for DME to include a disclaimer saying that eligibility for and coverage of DME is subject to specific criteria and that only a physician can determine if a patient meets the standards. Such ads also should list the actual criteria from an appropriate source.
Federal rules mandate that to be covered by Medicare, DME must be medically necessary and prescribed by a physician, among other criteria. Covered products include oxygen, wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers and prosthetics. Delegates said advertisers frequently promote their products without explaining the qualification process.
Inaccurate ads lead to some patients believing they can obtain DME when they do not qualify for the supplies, said Mobile, Ala., urologist Jeff Terry, MD, a delegate for the Medical Assn. of the State of Alabama.
“The doctors have got to say it’s medically necessary,” he said. “We can’t say that without evaluating the patient and making sure it is appropriate. Then, if we don’t approve it, the patient gets mad at us, because the television ads say the doctor can just sign off on it.”