Mass. Lawmakers Want to Tax Drug Ads

WASHINGTON, D.C. A bill introduced this month in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would require pharmaceutical companies to pay $1 for every dollar they spend on advertising in the state.

Introduced by Rep. Frank Hynes (D-Marshfield), the bill is aimed at direct-to-consumer television, radio, print and Internet ads. It would also tax money pharmaceutical companies spend on visiting doctors, offering free samples and advertising in medical journals.

Massachusetts follows New Mexico and Oregon, which also have bills targeting prescription drug ads. New Mexico has proposed placing a 20 percent surcharge on all prescription drugs that have been advertised. In Oregon, a bill would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from deducting the cost of advertising prescription drugs on their taxes.

Nearby Connecticut in February passed a 3 percent ad tax on creative services.