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Advertising, Governmental Regulation of

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the two major regulators of advertising for pharmaceutical products and services, in addition to various state regulations. Any state or federal regulation must be consistent with the principles of freedom of expression within the scope of the constitutional protection given to commercial speech. That is, when pharmaceutical advertising involves lawful activity and is not misleading, restrictions on such advertising can be justified only if the asserted governmental interest is substantial, if the restriction directly advances the governmental interest, and if the restriction is no more extensive than necessary to further the governmental interest. In fact, the first U.S. Supreme Court case pronouncing advertising a form of protected speech ...

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