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The Food & Drug Administration's attempt to regulate tobacco ads is casting a new spotlight on FDA regulation of all advertising, and there were indications last week that while drug companies have been loath to challenge the agency's authority, challenges might also be coming from outside the tobacco industry.

The Coalition for Healthcare Communication, which includes a number of healthcare ad agencies and medical publications, issued a position paper urging Congress to separate the FDA's regulatory authority from its examination of advertising and eliminate the "FDA practice of so-called `voluntary' pre-clearance of advertising for new prescription products and direct-to-consumer ads."

Noting the FDA's attempts to streamline itself, coalition Executive Director Jack Angel warned that no revamping would be successul "unless the issue of the agency's control over marketing and communication is dealt with."

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