A Virginia Democrat sent a letter to three pharmaceutical companies asking them to tone down ads for erectile dysfunction drugs.
BY BRIAN FALER, Bloomberg News
Representative Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, has heard enough about erectile dysfunction.
The 10-term congressman sent a letter Thursday to three pharmaceutical companies urging them to tone down ad campaigns for erectile dysfunction drugs, especially when children are likely to be watching television. He said the commercials are ''embarrassing and inappropriate'' and make for uncomfortable viewing for families.
''Many parents I talk with are frustrated and annoyed by the overwhelming presence of these ads during programs they watch with their children,'' Moran, 64, wrote. ``Parents should be able to watch a football game with their kids without having to either mute the television or explain the side effects of a life enhancement drug.''
The letter was addressed to Eli Lilly & Co. Chairman John Lechleiter; Deirdre Connelly, president of North American Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline Plc; and Pfizer Inc. Chairman Jeffrey Kindle. Eli Lilly makes Cialis, Pfizer produces Viagra and GlaxoSmithKline markets Levitra.
GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Sarah Alspach said in an e-mail Friday that the company limits Levitra ads to shows with audiences that are 90 percent adult and doesn't place spots during live sporting events before 9 p.m.
Eli Lilly spokeswoman Keri McGrath said in an e-mail the company limits Cialis ads to programming whose viewership is at least at least 90 percent adults. ''We recognize that ED is a sensitive medical condition,'' said McGrath.
Pfizer spokeswoman Sally Beatty said in an e-mail: ``Our goal in advertising our products is to reach the people who would be most likely to benefit from them. In line with our policies and the policies of the industry, Viagra advertising is aired in shows most likely to reach men suffering from erectile dysfunction.''
Moran asked the companies to ''take it upon yourself to limit and moderate this sort of advertising'' before 10 p.m. on both television and radio stations. He warned that, if they don't, he will push legislation he first introduced in 2005 that would limit when the ads would air.
He wrote that he reached a verbal agreement four years ago with some industry executives to limit the ads and, ``while that seemed to hold for some time, four years later these ads appear to have become even more pervasive and explicit.''