AMA Calls for Ban on Consumer Drug Ads

By Erik Goldman

The American Medical Association's leadership has called for a complete ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription medications and medical devices.

The organization announced the move, which it says it will back with a strong lobbying campaign, at its annual policy-making Patrice Harris.FullPatrice Harris, MD, AMA Board Chair - electmeeting in Atlanta earlier this month.

Drug company spending topped $4.5 billion this year, according to the AMA, and reflets a 30% increase in the last 2 years alone. AMA leadership contends that the bloated marketing budgets driving that expenditure are a major factor in soaring drug costs. Further, the physicians' group says the drug ads stoke patient demand for treatments that are often not necessary,  and put pressure on physicians to prescribe when it is not appropriate. 

The vote, "reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

Not surprisingly, the pharmaceutical industry disagrees. Tina Stow, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, contends that DTC ads transmit "scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options."


Given all the handwringing about healthcare costs, on top of all the election year politics, this showdown could be more exciting than the Superbowl.



Hospitals No Longer Safe Havens in War Zones

By Erik Goldman

The targeting of medical facilities, evidenced by the Oct. 3 bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan is a disturbing trend, one that runs counter to long-established humanitarian principles.

What's the New ICD-10 Code for "Financial Toxicity"?

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

There’s a devastating but largely overlooked side-effect that threatens the efficacy of many promising cancer therapies: it is called "financial toxicity." That’s the official new term devised by cancer researchers to describe the cost burden of medical care. There's even a clinical tool to measure it.

In Memoriam: Mike Katke

By Erik Goldman

With great sadness, Holistic Primary Care reports the death of Mike Katke, a true visionary in the field of natural healthcare, holistic medicine, and nutritional product development.


On the evening of August 12, 2015, Mike was killed in a highway accident on US 36 near Boulder, CO, when his motorcycle MikeKatkestruck a jeep making a sudden turn. He was 65 years old.


Mike co-founded Metagenics in 1983, with his brothers Jeff, Tim, and Chris, along with family friend Lyra Heller. In the process, he helped to define the core concepts as well as the practical tools for nutrigenomics and nutrition-based medicine.


In the 30 years since, Metagenics evolved to become a leading practitioner-only dietary supplement company, and one of the first to commit significant resources to original nutraceutical research. Always ahead of his time, Mike spearheaded Metagenics’ “FirstLine Therapy” program, an innovative system for integrating personalized, lifestyle-focused medicine into routine clinical practice.


Several years after Metagenics was acquired by Alticor, Mike re-entered the nutrition industry as Vice President of Marketing at Designs for Health, a position he held at the time of his death and one to which he was greatly devoted.


Thoughtful, energetic and kind-hearted, Mike translated his passion for health and for helping others into a legacy of products, services and educational programs that have had—and will conitine to have—tremendous impact on the practice of holistic and functional medicine. He was dedicated to freely sharing knowledge about health and nutrition, and was an early champion of Holistic Primary Care, and of other publishers committed to practitioner education.


Speaking at our first Practitioner Channel Forum in 2013, Mike summed up his approach to developing and marketing nutritional products to clinicians:


“Have respect for practitioners’ time and for their knowledge. Be honest and don’t BS them. Deliver on the promise. If you say you’re going to do some thing, then do it. Have good communication, and provide real benefit with each contact.”


We are grateful that we had the opportunity to know this fine man, and we extend condolences to his family and his many friends and colleagues.



Fed Trade Commission Eyes Homeopathy

By Erik Goldman

The advertising and marketing of OTC homeopathic products will come under increased scrutiny this Fall, when the Federal Trade Commission hosts a workshop to examine shifts in the market and potential revision of regulations.

Help celebrate our 20th year at TPC Forum at the TWA Hotel April 23 at 6pm
Help celebrate our 20th year at TPC Forum at the TWA Hotel April 23 at 6pm