Last updated on: 3/26/2010 | Author: ProCon.org

Robert M. Centor, MD Biography

Title:
Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Position:
Con to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"
Reasoning:

“Direct-to-consumer drug advertising works very well – for pharmaceutical company profits, but not for the public health…

Some argue that the First Amendment protects direct-to-consumer drug advertising. However, restrictions on commercial speech exist when the outcome of the speech can be harmful to the public. The Federal Communications Commission no longer allows tobacco ads to appear on TV. Following the same logic, prescription-drug ads should be taken off the air.

Drug advertising results in more costly prescriptions. Few inexpensive drugs are advertised on TV. The commercials don’t educate patients. Rather, they create a demand for a product based on an effective commercial rather than the patient’s medical need…

Direct-to-consumer ads should be banned. Doctors and patients have much to gain. Only the pharmaceutical industry has anything to lose.”

“Take Drug Ads off the Air,” USA Today, June 12, 2005

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with MDs, DOs, PhDs, MPHs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to pharmaceutical drugs and public health. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to pharmaceutical drugs and public health.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Professor, Internal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Associate Dean, Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Editorial Board Member, Medscape Today
  • Interim Dean, Tuscaloosa Clinical Campus, University of Alabama School of Medicine, 1995-1997
  • Former Chairman, Division of General Internal Medicine, Medical College of Virginia
  • Former Program Director, House staff Training Program, Medical College of Virginia
Education:
  • MD, Medical College of Virginia, 1975
  • Undergraduate degree, University of Virginia, 1971
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?