GPs and public agree – it’s time to ban drug advertising


GPs and public agree – it’s time to ban drug advertising

Media release from RNZCGP

The results of the Consumer NZ survey on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) released today are in line with The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioner’s position, which calls for an end to prescription advertising.

College President Dr Samantha Murton says the College has been advocating to remove DTCA since 2017.

“Our members have expressed their concern about pharma companies targeting and influencing patients via their advertising campaigns,” says Dr Murton.

“GPs are concerned that patients will seek out products that are not appropriate or necessary, because they have been exposed to persuasive advertising.

“However, this survey, which shows 57% of Kiwis support banning drug advertising, confirms that patients are also wary of the potential negative implications of such activity,” she says.

“In consultation with our members, in April this year the College made a submission on the Draft Therapeutic Products Bill, part of which relates to DTCA. Our submission strongly encourages the Government to prohibit this practise.

“There is significant research showing that DTCA is harmful to patients and the doctor-patient relationship.
“One of our members told us how they have to manage patients’ expectations, who may mistakenly believe one medicine is more suitable for them over another.

“In some cases, patients have requested a more expensive drug, after having seen it advertised, when a more generic, funded brand would be just as good.

“We are pleased to see that there is public support for the banning of DTCA and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our members, and their patients, on this issue.”


The College produced a position statement on DTCA in 2017 which is available on our website. Our position is as summarised as follows:

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medications causes considerable public harm through misinformation and the stimulation of demand for unsuitable or unnecessary, costly treatment, leading to inappropriate prescribing. The College advocates that legislation should be amended to prioritise the protection of public health over the interests of private industry: DTCA of prescription medications should be prohibited.