Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued a series of letters today urging state bar associations to help curb misleading and even dangerous attorney advertisements regarding lawsuit centered around pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the letter urges implementation of a “requirement that attorney commercials which may cause patients to discontinue medically necessary medications have appropriate warnings that patients should not discontinue medications without seeking the advice of their physician.” Over 50 letters were sent, including a letter to the American Bar Association (ABA), a letter to each state bar, and the bar for the District of Columbia.

In a recent report, the American Medical Association (AMA) found that patients were more likely to discontinue the use of prescribed FDA approved pharmaceuticals after seeing television advertisements that “emphasize side effects while ignoring the benefits or the fact that the medication is FDA approved.” The AMA believes that such advertisements are “designed to frighten patients” and “jeopardize patient care”.

An additional letter also calls on groups that air such advertisements to answer questions regarding their practices, and what is being done with the information gathered from potential clients.

Chairman Goodlatte noted that the “legal profession, which prides itself on the ability to self-regulate” should take action to promote better practices when airing such advertisements because lives depend on the patients continuing to follow the advice of their physicians.