This op-ed was originally published by Agri-Pulse. Mass tort litigation has become a multi-billion-dollar industry for trial lawyers over the past several decades as they’ve targeted everything from tobacco and […]
Philly Trial Lawyers Spend $10.9 Million on Local Ads In First Half of 2019
Have you or a loved one been hurt? Lawyers bought 73,000 local ads to get you to answer. OCTOBER 8, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Philadelphia area viewers saw approximately 73,000 local […]
Have you or a loved one been hurt? Lawyers bought 73,000 local ads to get you to answer.
OCTOBER 8, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – Philadelphia area viewers saw approximately 73,000 local legal services advertisements in just the first half of 2019 (January through June). The lawyers, their firms, and others who purchased these local legal services ads spent $10.9 million over the six-month span.
Television viewers were exposed to over 608 hours of trial lawyer advertisements in the 6-month span. During the same amount of time, a person could watch every 2019 Phillies game, Eagles game and the first quarter of the Flyers’ season – too much for even the most avid Philly fan.
To further put into perspective how frequently local legal services ads run on Philadelphia televisions, when compared with ads for home centers or hardware stores, they run 44 times as often. When compared with ads for furniture stores, legal services ads run twice as often.
In addition to the local ads, Philadelphia viewers also were exposed to $45 million worth of national ads related to alleged injuries caused by pharmaceutical products and medical devices. These 28,000 ads were shown nationally on national broadcasts as well as cable networks, as opposed to just airing locally. Nearly $31 million were spent on ads related to medical devices alone.
The new report from the American Tort Reform Association comes as ads are gaining new attention from federal regulators. The Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to various law firms and others, flagging their ads soliciting clients for personal injury lawsuits against drug manufacturers as potentially “unlawful.”
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.
“Misleading advertisements drum up fear in an attempt to gain clients, but there are serious repercussions and in the worst scenarios, the cost can be human life,” Tiger Joyce, President of the American Tort Reform Association said.
These sorts of ads have been associated directly with patients’ deaths. In 2016, the FDA found that 61 patients stopped using their prescribed blood-thinner medications, Xarelto or Pradaxa, after viewing these commercials, and six of the patients died. 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.”
“Viewers are inundated with the fill-in-the-blank ‘If you or a loved one’-type ads, and this report highlights the need for legislation to protect the public from false and misleading advertisements,” Joyce said.
During their 2019 legislative sessions, both Texas and Tennessee passed bills addressing the deceptive nature of many of these ads. Texas’s bill created parameters to ensure that consumers are aware these are paid advertisements by lawyers, and not government-sanctioned announcements. Tennessee’s bill disallows use of government agency logos, the word “recall” if a product hasn’t been recalled, and requires disclosure that the ads are paid advertisements for lawyers.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was No. 6 on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s 2018-2019 Judicial Hellholes rankings, due in part to mass tort cases flooding Philadelphia’s legal system. The influx of litigators’ advertisements likely is bolstering the number of filings in Philadelphia’s courts.
View the full report on legal services advertising in Philadelphia at ATRA.org.
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