SENATOR MAY SHELVE DRUG AD PROPOSAL

Backs Away From Plan to Limit Deductions on DTC Marketing Expenses

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A senator who is trying to block drug companies from deducting marketing expenses for direct-to-consumer advertising may now be backing away from her attempts to add an amendment to Medicare legislation being considered in the Senate.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who has been critical of pharmaceutical companies for spending more on advertising and marketing than on research, said she may not seek a vote on her proposal limiting deductions drug marketers make for advertising costs to no more than they spend on research.

Sen. Stabenow joined

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several other senators today as the group Families Today released a study saying the large drug makers spend 250% more on marketing, advertising and administration as they spend on research and development.

The senator's proposal to limit deductions for marketing costs has run into heavy opposition from the ad industry and others who fear it could set precedent for Congress to treat some expenses differently than others in the tax code.

Sen. Stabenow is now expected to propose her deductibility legislation as an amendment, give her reasons for pushing it, but then withdraw it before any Senate vote takes place. The senator could still try to attach the measure to other legislation, but several members from ad groups who met with Sen. Stabenow on Tuesday said today that congressional passage of the legislation outside the prescription drug bill is less likely.

Also, Sen. Stabenow acknowledged today that altering the tax code in the midst of Medicare legislation could open sections of the measure to parliamentary attack as being not germane.

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