October 4, 2007

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Coordinator – Government Affairs

Drug Safety Legislation Signed Into Law

President Bush signed the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (Public Law 110-85) into law on September 27, 2007. The bill gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to fine drug companies for false or misleading advertising but does not have strict marketing restrictions as originally proposed. The original version of the bills would have given the FDA authority to impose a three-year moratorium on prescription drug advertising, required preapproval of both individual DTC ads and comprehensive marketing plans and added additional and warning language to ads and packaging. These restrictions would have set a dangerous precedent for all advertising but were removed from final versions of the bills because of work done by the AAF and a broad coalition of companies and trade associations.
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House Health Subcommittee Holds Tobacco Regulation Hearing

The Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on H.R. 1108, which would grant the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products and their advertising. The bill, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., would direct the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to publish an interim rule with sweeping new restrictions on tobacco advertising. Additionally, the bill would impose labeling requirements on tobacco ads and grant state and local governments authority to impose "specific bans or restrictions on the time, place and manner" of tobacco ads. The AAF opposes the marketing restrictions offered in the bill but takes no position on the proposal to grant the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products.
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Michigan Passes Tax on Business Services

The Michigan Legislature passed a measure that will impose a six percent tax on many business services, including some advertising agency elements. Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, signed the measure as part of a continuing resolution that prevented a partial government shutdown. After narrow approval from the House, the measure passed the Senate 20–19, with Lt. Governor John Cherry casting the deciding vote. While the law does not tax advertising costs specifically, it does tax consulting fees as well as desktop publishing, both of which may be considered part of advertising services.
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House Leaders Consider FCC-Mandated DTV Education Initiatives

Arguing that voluntary industry efforts may be insufficient, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton, R-Texas, and House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Fred Upton, R-Mich., have asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin if the congressmen should urge consideration of a bill giving the FCC authority to mandate digital television transition initiatives. Their bill, the Digital Television Consumer Education Act of 2007 (H.R. 608), would create a program within the FCC to promote the analog to digital transition and would require broadcasters, television manufacturers and other industry organizations to develop a public outreach program informing consumers of the change. Previously, Martin indicated he wants to analyze the effectiveness of voluntary initiatives already in place before requesting a mandate.
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