Thursday, May 8, 2008

Doctors pushing products that harm

The Florida Bar imposes strict requirements and limitations on lawyer advertising. Attorney advertising is a contentious issue in many legal circles; some see the ads as commercial speech, others view them as tacky, and tasteless attempts to drum up business from another's misfortune. One thing is clear about all mediums of advertising for attorneys, the Florida Bar routinely reigns in slogans that fringe on guaranteeing satisfaction or gain. I am unfamiliar with the rules regarding advertising in regards to doctors, but certain that the Camel pitch seen above would draw frowns from the A.M.A. Less clear, is the ethics regarding doctors pitching weight loss pills. My chief beef is the smarmy "Dr." John Marshall in the Hydroxycut ads. Why a well funded company would need to use a rookie straight out of med school for their pitchman is beyond me. Is he the only one willing to sell out? Or did scouts find him in class and liked his bone structure? Either way, it is disturbing that doctors can put their name and license behind a product that is not F.D.A. approved. One wishes there was a section of the Hippocratic Oath stating: "I shall not engage in advertising practices in regard to healthcare products that feature exaggerated claims or misleading advice." Proactol's medical squad looks rather quack-tastic.