132,000 ads aired in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio & Houston April 17, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The American Tort Reform Association released its latest study on trial lawyer advertising, which […]
132,000 ads aired in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio & Houston
April 17, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – The American Tort Reform Association released its latest study on trial lawyer advertising, which analyzes spending and frequency of legal services ads in four major Texas media markets.
These ads telling consumers, “Don’t settle for quick cash – call now to get what you’re entitled to,” frequent television screens across the country. In the second and third quarters of 2018, nearly 6 million ads for legal services aired across the U.S. – with a total media buy of $412 million.
“We know these ads may be irritating or even comical at times, but they absolutely have negative effects on consumers,” American Tort Reform Association President Tiger Joyce said.
The FDA found that 61 patients stopped using their prescribed blood-thinner medications, Xarelto or Pradaxa, after viewing these commercials in 2016. Six of the patients died – three from stroke, one from cardiac arrest, one from a pulmonary embolism, and one from an unreported cause.
These ads have been directly associated with patients’ deaths. Dr. Ilana Kutinsky, doctor for one of the deceased, stated before Congress: “Patients are dying because they are afraid to take the medications prescribed for them due to the fear brought on by these negative and one-sided campaigns.”
The problem is pervasive – Texas’s top media market, Dallas-Ft. Worth, saw nearly 31,000 trial lawyer advertisements at a cost of $4.5 million in the last quarter of 2018. On average, TV viewers in the DFW area saw 14 ads per hour soliciting litigation claims or advertising legal services – that’s seven times as many ads as were broadcast for auto insurance.
Viewers in the Austin area saw four trial lawyer ads for every fast food ad. The lawyers spent $2.3 million on a grand total of 31,000 advertisements there between October and December of last year. In San Antonio, consumers saw these ads 18 times as frequently as they saw ads for wireless telecom providers. San Antonio viewers saw more than 34,000 local legal services ads, and while it is one-third the size of the Dallas market, the ads were the most expensive in the state at $5.2 million spent in just those three months.
S.B. 1189 sponsored by state Sens. Buckingham, Creighton, Fallon and Lucio and H.B. 2251 sponsored by state Rep. Capriglione aim to address these problematic lawsuit advertising and solicitation practices. S.B. 1189 has already passed the Senate and was referred to the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee on Monday. H.B. 2251 is pending in same committee.
“These bills aim to protect citizens from deceptive marketing tactics that unfortunately have unintended consequences,” Joyce said. “Oftentimes, a TV ad with a lawyer speaking might claim a certain prescription or medical device may cause harm, and without consulting a doctor, viewers who are prescribed these medications may cease use due to the fear created by unfounded advertisements.”
In the Houston media market, spending totaled $4.4 million to air more than 35,000 trial lawyer ads from October through December 2018. Approximately 22% of these ads focused on claims related to mesothelioma or other asbestos-related risks and conditions, pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices.
A Public Opinion Strategies survey found that three-quarters of Americans saw ads by law firms about pharmaceutical lawsuits in 2016. Further, the survey states that one-in-four people who saw one of these ads concerning a medicine they take, say they would immediately stop taking the medicine without consulting their doctor.
“I’m encouraged that the legislature in Texas is moving these important bills to empower Texans to make important health decisions with their primary care physicians instead of at the suggestion of a television lawyer,” Joyce said.
View the latest report on trial lawyer advertising trends in Texas at ATRA.org.