by Megan Fanale Engel (United States)

On April 18, the Obama administration approved the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) survey project, which will allow regulators to survey physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants about the advertising and marketing practices of drug companies.

The purpose of this survey is to ask clinicians their opinions about how pharmaceutical companies promote drugs to consumers and healthcare professionals. It is expected to cost approximately $365,000 over two years.

The FDA initially asked the White House to conduct this survey in January. The request was posted in the Federal Register and five comments were received.

 The last time the FDA undertook such a survey about the impacts of direct-to-consumer advertising was more than 10 years ago. In the new study, the FDA plans to survey approximately 2,000 healthcare professionals, and the agency is particularly focused on how perceptions regarding direct-to-consumer advertising has changed since the 2002 survey.

 In 2002, physicians were divided whether drug advertising had a negative, positive, or negligible effect on their practices. Now, however, drug company advertising has significantly increased, and the FDA is interested in how social media and online marketing has affected physicians’ opinions.

This article was prepared by Megan Fanale Engel ( / 202 662 4733) of Fulbright’s Health Care practice.