Oct 3, 2019

FTC warns of deceptive drug lawsuit ads

Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission has warned 7 law firms and marketing companies that their TV ads alleging harm, and offering possible monetary relief, from certain prescription drugs "may be deceptive or unfair" and may prompt people to stop taking their medications.

Driving the news: Documents obtained by Axios under the Freedom of Information Act show the FTC was particularly concerned about personal injury ads against the diabetes drugs Invokana and Invokamet.

Between the lines: The FTC is worried these types of ads — such as this from Ketterer Browne & Anderson and this from Amicus — are confusing people into thinking the medications have been recalled or that the federal government has issued formal "medical alerts" even though that's not the case.

  • 6 of the 7 firms that received FTC letters last month had ads warning people about Invokana or Invokamet.
  • Other drugs mentioned in the allegedly deceptive TV ads were Abilify, Tasigna, Xarelto, Pradaxa and Nexium, among others.

The other side: Axios reached out to all 7 law firms and marketers. Travis Marble of Lucy Business Services, which advertises legal services on behalf of firms, said he had no comment since the matter is pending. The others did not immediately provide an interview or comments.

The bottom line: Be wary of personal injury TV ads.

Go deeper: Read the FTC's letters.

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Political ads become 2020 flashpoint

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Tech giants, TV networks, and even transit companies are all struggling to figure out how to manage political ads ahead of the 2020 election. While some firms choose to run lots of political and issue ads with little oversight, others opt to ban them altogether.

Why it matters: Absent strict government regulation of political ads across all media, the decision over how to manage those ads is left to companies. And while most firms have faced this dilemma for years, the hyper-political environment leading up to 2020 is shining a stronger spotlight to their decisions.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Twitter to stop accepting all political ads on the platform globally

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind on its platform.

Why it matters: Tech companies have come under fire as of late for policies around how they police political ads. Facebook, most notably, has been criticized for saying that the company would not fact-check ads from political candidates or politicians.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

Republican FTC commissioner seeks social media inquiry

Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson wants her agency to probe how social media companies use consumers’ information to shape the algorithms that determine what their users see and read.

Why it matters: A wide-ranging study of social media data practices could lay the groundwork for more enforcement from the agency, as well as legislative recommendations to Congress.

Go deeperArrowOct 24, 2019