RX Drug Lawsuit Ads Could Scare Millions Out of Taking Their Medications

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June 22, 2017

One in four Americans taking certain prescribed medicines say they would stop taking them immediately—without consulting their doctor—after seeing ads promoting lawsuits against the drugs’ manufacturers, according to a new national survey released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR).

This research comes amid growing concern for trial lawyer drug advertising. In 2016, an arm of the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution calling these types of ads “fear mongering” and “dangerous” for patients. Additionally, the organization called for the government to require lawyers to include warnings in the ads telling patients not to stop medication without consulting their doctor. Then, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent letters to the American Bar Association and all 50 state bar associations urging them to adopt the AMA’s recommendation.

Now, the House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing on the dangers of these lawsuit ads. The hearing will take place on June 23nd and can be livestreamed here.

According to the research released today by ILR, seven in ten Americans have seen a trial lawyer ad for a lawsuit over a prescription medicine. And 84 percent say they would be concerned if they saw a lawsuit ad about a medicine they were taking.

These numbers suggest the impact of drug lawsuit ads on the public health could be significant. According to a recent report, at least 30 people suffered serious medical problems—including two deaths—because they stopped taking Xarelto without their doctors’ approval after seeing one of these lawsuit commercials.

The newly released data surveyed 1,335 adults 18+, with 500 adults who were taking one of 12 targeted prescriptions. It was conducted May 5 through 25, 2017, with a margin of error +/- 3.5%. You can view the full report here.