Government Report: March 28, 2007



Contents:

House Drug Safety Bill Introduced With Three-Year DTC Advertising Moratorium
Representatives Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., have introduced a bill that would impose a moratorium on direct-to-consumer advertising of newly introduced drugs for up to three years. The Enhancing Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2007 (H.R. 1561) is a companion bill to one introduced by Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Both bills would increase the Food and Drug Administration's authority over post-market dug safety research, but the Waxman-Markey bill differs in that it increases the possible moratorium from two years to three years. Both bills authorize the FDA to demand preclearance of drug advertising. The House legislation would also require the FDA to note that a drug is new on its packaging. The AAF opposes the advertising provisions of this bill, which we believe could not pass Constitutional scrutiny. Patients benefit from truthful information about new pharmaceuticals. Advertising motivates patients to see their doctors and begin the conversation about appropriate treatment options for a condition. Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced a bill (S. 468) that would modify the FDA's drug safety program but would not impose advertising moratoriums or require preclearance of ads.
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Two House Spyware Bills Introduced, One Receives Subcommittee Hearing
The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has held a hearing on H.R. 964, the Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (SPY ACT). Introduced by Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., H.R. 964 would prohibit sending anyone software that collects personally identifiable information or otherwise takes over a computer. Fines would be imposed for violations of the provisions. Members of the advertising industry testifying at the hearing argued that the legislation could negatively affect legitimate advertising and that industry best practices do a better job of fighting intrusive software. In 2005, a similar bill passed the House but was not considered by the Senate.

Additionally, Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., have reintroduced their Internet Spyware Prevention Act (I-Spy Act), which would prohibit unauthorized installation of computer programs that collect personally identifiable information and hold violators criminally accountable, rather than impose fines. The bill (H.R. 1525) passed the House in 2005 but was never considered by the Senate.
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New Television Advertising Study Released
The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a study of food marketing to children on television, finding that children aged 2–17 see food marketing more than any other category of television advertising. According to the study, food advertising accounts for between 22 and 32 percent of all advertising viewed by children and accounts for half of the advertising during children's programming. Fifteen percent of all food advertising depicted children as physically active. The study was conducted in 2005 and used advertisements aired in 2004. Since then, 11 leading food and beverage companies have joined the National Advertising Review Council to form the Food and Beverage Guidelines Initiative, which aims to devote at least 50 percent of food marketing directed toward children to promoting healthier products and lifestyles. Additionally, the Children's Advertising Review Unit has recently revised its guidelines to provide greater oversight of children's advertising, including product placement on television.
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Kentucky Billboard Legislation Stalls
Legislation written to allow billboard owners to improve visibility of their advertising by controlling vegetation growth has stalled in the Kentucky legislature. Senate Bill 155 passed the Senate and was approved overwhelmingly by the House Transportation Committee but was not voted on by the full House before it adjourned this week, which means the bill must be reintroduced in the next session. Members of Kentucky ad clubs contacted the House speaker urging him to allow the bill to receive a vote. A copy of the alert sent to local clubs is available here.
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Joint Government Affairs Conference Registration Open
The 2007 Joint Government Affairs Conference is scheduled for May 2, 2007, at the Washington Post in Washington, D.C. The conference is sponsored by the AAF, as well as the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers. Confirmed speakers to date include Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate and Washington Post columnist David Broder. This event is free to all AAF members. To register, visit www.aaf.org/gac.
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AAF Government Report will not be published for two weeks because Congress will be in recess.

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