Last updated on: 4/9/2010 | Author:

Gary Ruskin, MPP Biography

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Commercial Alert
Con to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"

“Direct-to-consumer marketing of prescription drugs should be prohibited…

This advertising does not promote public health. It increases the cost of drugs and the number of unnecessary prescriptions, which is expensive to taxpayers, and can be harmful or deadly to patients…

Prescription drug advertising pressures health professionals to prescribe particular medications, and often the ones that may be less effective and more expensive and dangerous. This intrudes in the relationship between medical professionals and patients, and disrupts the therapeutic process. It takes up valuable time to explain to patients why they may have been misled by the drug advertisements they have seen.

Prescription drug advertising is not educational. It is inherently misleading because it features emotive imagery and omits crucial information about drugs and their proper use, as well as about side effects and contraindications that can be found on the full FDA-approved label. Drug companies have an inherent and irredeemable financial conflict-of-interest which drives them to exaggerate the positive and minimize the negative qualities of their own products.”

Statement at the “US Food and Drug Administration Hearings on Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising,”, Nov. 2, 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Executive Director and Co-Founder (with Ralph Nader), Commercial Alert (group dedicated to “protecting communities from commercialism”)
  • Director, Congressional Accountability Project, 1993-present
  • Co-founder, Green Change
  • Former community organizer, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
  • MPP, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • BA, Religion, Carleton College, 1986
  • Lives in Portland, OR
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?