A consumer watchdog group on Wednesday questioned the legality of
several advertisements for medical devices that appear on YouTube and
called on regulators to crack down on the promotions.
Online videos from Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic Inc. and Stryker
Corp. tout the benefits of their devices, but do not mention the risks,
according to the Boston-based nonprofit group, Prescription Project.
The Food and Drug Administration requires television advertisements for
drugs and medical devices to give a balanced picture of benefits and
risks; however, it's unclear whether that law also applies to Internet
promotions, the group says.
"The videos raise serious questions about whether drug and device
companies are using the Internet to skirt laws that safeguard
consumers," said Allan Coukell, director of policy for the Prescription
In a petition submitted to the FDA, the group asks regulators to order
the companies to remove the advertisements from the Web. The group also
asks the agency to issue regulations specifying that online ads are
subject to the same standards as television ads.
Among the ads cited in the petition are an advertisement for Medtronic's artificial spine disk, Prestige.