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The Bottom Line: Senate committee passes bill to curb misleading advertisements

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill aiming to protect patients from misleading advertisements was passed through the Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee Tuesday.

Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester
Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester

Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, the sponsor of Senate Bill 178, said advertisements about certain prescription drugs advising warning about adverse side effects have led patients to stop taking the medications altogether. Alvarado, a doctor, said there are many risks to patient health as a result of these misleading legal advertisements about prescription drugs.

He stated the drugs in question include blood thinners and/or medications used to treat diabetes, certain cancers and other prescriptions that many Kentuckians take.

Because of this, Alvarado said SB 178 aims to tackle this issue by requiring advertisements to properly warn patients that it is dangerous to stop taking a prescribed medication before consulting with a physician. The bill would also prohibit advertisements that solicit legal business from being mis-labeled as a “medical alert,” “health alert,” or “public service announcement,” and protecting personal health information from being used to solicit legal services without the prior consent of the patient.

Kentucky Medical Association Deputy Executive Vice President and Director of Advocacy Cory Meadows said the bill would ensure health decisions are made between a patient and their physician, because the current system undermines that relationship. Meadows also said that Kentuckians who stop taking medications without talking to their doctor poses a serious health risk, and that this legislation is a much-needed step to protect the heath of Kentuckians.

SB 178 now moves to the full Senate for a vote on the floor.