Will Prescription Drug Ads Be Taxed?

With all sorts of healthcare reform proposals being floated, the American Advertising Federation is in a tizzy over the specter of a tax on prescription drug advertising as a means to finance some of the healthcare proposal.
Here’s part of what the AAF sent out in a letter to its members:

Because healthcare reform is moving very fast, and Senators communicate with each other it is vital that ALL Senators hear strong opposition
TODAY to this proposal from their constituents. Please circulate this alert to your ad club members and/or employees and urge them to place calls.
The core of your message should be that the proposal must be opposed because it is a tax on advertising and if adopted is unlikely to stop with prescription drugs. Who knows what might be next when the government needs more money? Advertising for all products and services helps generate $6 trillion in economic activity and supports more than 21 million jobs.

Currently, advertising is a tax-deductible expense, although it’s been a target of revenue-hungry politicians for years.
Prescription drug ads have been a fun target of comedians for years, but should they be taxed? Would that trigger the AAF’s “slippery slope” scenario? Aren’t advertising and marketing expenses part of the reason prescription drugs are so expensive in the first place?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.