Government Report: August 2, 2007

Contents:

Drug Safety Legislation Postponed Until September
House and Senate leaders have postponed floor consideration of a drug safety bill conference report until after Congress returns from recess in September. A conference committee must iron out differences between the House and Senate–passed versions of the drug safety legislation before final approval by Congress. A plan to give the FDA authority to request information relating to a company's marketing plan has been suggested. As originally drafted, the bills would have imposed harsh restrictions on advertising, including a moratorium on new drug advertising, labeling requirements and FDA preclearance of ads. The AAF is working with a broad coalition to ensure that no advertising restrictions are part of the final bill.
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Senate Postpones Tobacco Regulation Bill Until Fall
After approval by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the full Senate will likely not consider a tobacco regulation bill until the fall. The bill (S. 625), introduced by HELP Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products, including its advertising. A required interim rule would mandate severe advertising restrictions. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1108), introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is not expected to be considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee until September. The AAF opposes the marketing restrictions in the bill but takes no position on which federal agency should regulate tobacco marketing.
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Senate Committee Approves Do Not Call Registry Reauthorization
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has approved a bill (S. 781), introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., reauthorizing the National Do Not Call Registry. The Federal Trade Commission operates the registry, which allows consumers to block phone numbers from telemarketers. Funding for the registry comes from telemarketers, who pay the FTC for lists of prohibited numbers to ensure they are not called. The registry was approved in 2002 but must be reauthorized before the end of this year to remain active.
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Massachusetts Committee Approves School Advertising Ban
A Massachusetts legislative committee has approved a bill that would ban advertising in public schools. House Bill 489, introduced by House Joint Committee on Public Health Chairman Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham, would prohibit commercial logos and other forms on advertising on “equipment dispensing products, posters, trademark cups, book covers, banners, beverage coolers, sporting equipment, as screen savers on computers, or displayed on other electronic equipment or on any items located within school buildings, or on school building exteriors” in Massachusetts public schools. The bill would also ban the distribution of promotional products containing commercial branding.
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