Is Banning Direct to Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medicine Justified Paternalism?
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2005; 2(2): 69-74
New Zealand is one of two OECD countries in the world where direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicine (DTCA-PM) is permitted. Increase in such activity in recent years has resulted in a disproportionate increase in dispensary volume of heavily advertised medicines. Concern for the potential harm to healthcare consumers and the public healthcare system has prompted the medical profession to call for a ban on DTCA-PM as the best way of protecting the public interest. Such blanket prohibition however also interferes with the public's right of access to information. This paper will examine if banning DTCA-PM would constitute a justified form of paternalism in the context of today's New Zealand.
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