In the midst of an all-consuming debate over health care reform, some lawmakers are using the opportunity to fight TV ads for prescription drugs. You know the type: The Lunesta butterfly fanning an sleepless face; the FloMax man chuckling while male golfers scamper to porta-potties; the Viva Viagra singers pausing to warn about certain four-hour abnormalities.
But now a group of congressmen are pushing bills to ban or tax prescription drug ads. Do they have a shot?
Probably not, reports the New York Times. But first, let's review the three ideas floating around Congress.
1) No More Erectile Dysfunction Commercials
Proposed by Rep. James Moran, a Virginia Democrat, this bill would ban erectile dysfunction ads from prime-time television on decency grounds. This could be tricky. On the one hand, the ads can't get around that chilling term "four hour erection" for legal purposes, and as Jeffrey Goldberg wrote, that can be really frustrating for a parent of young kids.
On the other hand, the ads are usually pretty implicit, what with footballs flying through tire swings and bathtubs on the beach (what is the deal with those, anyway? What a pointless, unromantic schlep that would be). And that suggestiveness could make it difficult to mount an indecency case on First Amendment grounds.