CanWest Pushes Drug Ads in Canada

The Canadian government has until the end of June to respond to a legal action by CanWest MediaWorks, which wants to overturn the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. CanWest MediaWorks, which owns a national television network in Canada, lodged the claim in December 2005. In a statement at the time, CanWest MediaWorks claimed that "Canadians are already inundated by American advertisements, making the issue one of 'basic business fairness' between the two markets." Barbara Mintzes, from the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research at the University of British Columbia, argues that there is a need for better enforcement of existing legislation. "CanWest's solution is to get rid of the law. This is like saying that if corner stores are getting away with selling cigarettes to 13 year olds, we might as well get rid of the age restrictions," she told the British Medical Journal.