What We're Reading: Seeking a Moratorium on New Drug Ads

What we're reading, February 22, 2016: new legislation proposes placing a 3-year moratorium on advertising newly approved drugs; the prevalence and incidence of stroke among young adults has increased significantly; and more women with breast cancer are choosing outpatient mastectomies.

A new bill has been introduced that would place a 3-year moratorium on advertisements for newly approved prescription drugs. The freeze on direct-to-consumer advertising for new drugs would prevent consumers from receiving inaccurate information, according to STAT. In addition, the bill seeks to lower healthcare costs as advertising can inflate costs as consumers are prompted to seek newer, higher-priced medicines. The legislation would allow HHS to waive the moratorium if the ad would have “an affirmative value to public health.”

More young Americans are having strokes with about 10% of all strokes occurring in people between the ages of 18 and 50 years. While the majority of strokes are still happening in older individuals, the incidence and prevalence has increased significantly among younger individuals with obesity being the most likely underlying cause, reported NPR. As chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and lipid disorders, increased, so has the number of young people hospitalized for stroke.

Not only are more women with breast cancer choosing to have mastectomies, but close to half of them go home the same day. Kaiser Health News reported that data has shown breast cancer treatment has shifted from less invasive surgeries, which is of concern to some advocates. From 2005 to 2013, the rate of mastectomy has increased by 36% and the number of them being performed in outpatient centers with no overnight stay is up 22%.