"Viva Viagra" could lose potency

    A pair of congressmen want to push commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs to off-hours when children would likely not see them.

    A Pennsylvania congressman says TV ads for erectile dysfunction drugs are indecent. And he’d like to pass a law regulating when the commercials can air.
    (Photo: Flickr/Felixe)

    Listen:

    [audio:090511kgads.mp3]

    Democrat Bob Brady was watching sports one day with his granddaughter, when something like this came on during the commercial break…

    Ad:…seek immediate medical help if you’re experiencing an erection lasting longer than four hours…

    Brady: So my granddaughter says to me, pop pop, what’s erectile dysfunction?…I’m embarrassed, and these kids shouldn’t have to see that.

    So Brady and a colleague introduced a bill that would restrict erectile dysfunction and male enhancement ads to late-night viewing. Advertising consultant Bob Ehrlich says embarrassment is not a good enough reason to limit ads.

    Ehrlich: That’s life. That’s a reality of life. I don’t think you can shield kids from everything. This is not some frivolous product. This is a product that helps people.

    Pharmaceutical marketing analyst John Mack says the bill is too narrowly focused. He says it would be more effective if it examined the appropriateness of drugs ads on TV in general, rather than picking a specific medical condition.

    Mack: Who knows what new drugs will be developed in the future that would be advertised on TV? You can’t have a law passed every time you don’t like a particular type of ad.

    Mack says, like Brady, he is not opposed to advertising drugs on TV. But he questions how effective a 60-second ad can be in informing people about serious medical conditions and drug side effects. Brady’s bill failed to pass in a previous iteration.

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