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FTC warns of deceptive drug lawsuit ads

Someone pouring prescription pills into their hands
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.