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Psychiatrists support New Zealanders’ views on advertising of prescription medicines

13 August 2019

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) commends New Zealanders and the health sector on expressing a strong preference to ban advertising of prescription medicine.

In a report recently released by Consumer NZ, 57 per cent of New Zealanders supported a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription medicines.

Dr Mark Lawrence, Chair of the RANZCP New Zealand National Committee - Tu Te Akaaka Roa said he was pleased with the findings of the Consumer NZ report.

‘It’s good to learn the majority of Kiwis would prefer to get their medicines information from an independent health information source rather than from a TV or magazine advertisement sponsored by a pharmaceutical company.

‘The RANZCP considers direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines does more harm than good and has no place in this country. 

‘Medical professionals have long been clear about their opposition to this type of drug advertising, and this report shows that New Zealanders also strongly disagree with this practice,’ Dr Lawrence said.

Dr Susanna Every-Palmer, Deputy Chair of the New Zealand National Committee, emphasised that such ‘advertising does not support the principle of providing patients with the best possible care.’

‘Psychiatrists are committed to making clinical decisions based on the best available evidence,’ Dr Every-Palmer continued.

‘The public is right to be sceptical of information not provided through an independent source and New Zealand is a real outlier in letting this continue.

‘When the Ministry of Health announced their review of the Medicines Act 1981, we hoped to see the demise of direct-to-consumer advertising.’

With the release of the Consumer NZ report, the goal of implementing a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs appears one step closer to becoming a reality.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email