Testimony in Support of House Bill 2251

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Dr. Christine Canterbury from Corpus Christi, Texas and member of the Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse recently expressed her support of House Bill 2251 by Rep. Capriglione.

 

“Dear Chairman Leach and Members of the Committee;

I am writing to support HB 2251 by Rep. Capriglione that will be heard by your committee. The issue of drug injury advertisements has been on my radar for quite some time.  Originally, I saw the ads on TV and they immediately irritated me.  At that time, I didn’t immediately process the potential patient harm that these drug injury advertisements could cause. Then, one day in the lunch room I became a statistic – I became one of the 3 out of every 10 physicians who has heard about a negative health outcome after a patient stopped a medicine.  One of my colleagues came into the room upset and talking about his patient. She was a patient he had known for quite some time who was on a prescription blood thinner medicine for her chronic atrial fibrillation – this is an abnormality of the heart rhythm that increases a patient’s chances of having blood clots in the heart that can cause strokes or other blood clotting problems.  She saw an ad on TV about the “horrible dangers” of taking this medicine and his lovely patient took it upon herself to stop her medicine because she didn’t “want to die”.  The next time he saw this patient she was in the ER with a severely ischemic leg.  She required percutaneous intervention and embolectomy.  They saved her leg but had to amputate half of her foot.

At that point the dangerous implications of these ads hit me.  Advertisers from every industry try to persuade the public to buy what they are selling – a consumer product, a politician, etc.   But these ads are not just selling a brand or person, these ads have life altering consequences – these ads can maim or kill!!!

These drug injury ads, as they currently stand, suggest severe side effects but do not discuss the actual level of risk of having one of these complications.  They emphasize the risk and ignore the benefits.  Without this very important information, consumers cannot compare the life-saving or life-improving benefits that these medicines offer compared to the relatively low risk.  It is difficult to overemphasize the dangers that these ads can pose.

We have scientific evidence – real data – that is gathered and studied on every medicine long before it’s even released to the public, and this safety monitoring continues even after a medicine is on the market.  As a doctor, my number one responsibility is to provide my patients with expert medical advice and prioritize their well-being over anything else. I spent years in school and in training so that I would be qualified to give the best possible care and advice to my patients. Patient adherence is critical to ensuring that medical and prescription treatments work effectively.  Without direction from a doctor, patients may be putting their health at serious risk.

In summary, I see this as a big problem with a relatively simple solution.   I think that HB 2251 is a great start to solving a problem of increasing importance.

Thank you for your time and attention.”