Proposed Legislation Aimed at Your Wallet

Posted on 10/23/2009 by Edward Greenberg | Printable Version | Comments (1)

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) with co-sponsors Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sheldon Whithouse (D-RI) have introduced legislation (S1763) to disallow the federal tax deduction for all advertising and marketing expenses for prescription drugs.  As only politicians can, the bill has been cleverly titled, "Protecting Americans from Drug Marketing Act."  It would require an amendment to the IRS code.

Regardless of your political leanings and views towards health care or economic policy, make no mistake: such legislation, if enacted, would profoundly and negatively affect the pocket books of ad agencies, their employees and—most importantly from my view—independent photographers, stylists, reps, agents, illustrators, graphic designers, models, CGI artists and all of the other countess small businesses typically contracted, directly or indirectly, by the pharmaceutical companies in connection with the production of their advertising.

In addition, newspapers and magazines still clinging to life will lose the substantial and generally reliable revenues these ads generate. Any further reduction in print advertising revenue will certainly spell doom for more than one publication already on life support.

Some may argue that pharmaceutical companies will advertise no matter what the cost and, therefore, this bill will have no real effect. My law practice does not represent ad agencies; more often than not, our contact with them is in the role of the plaintiff's attorney. As such, our opinion of this legislation is not motivated by ad agencies but rather by assisting the more than a thousand of our current and former clients employed or contracted by ad agencies.

We have sent a letter to each Senator named above, incorporating this letter and making our views known. We also urge you to independently research S1763 and make your opinion—whatever it may be—known to the Senators, in writing, and as quickly as possible. It is our view that if enacted, this bill will hasten the final demise of independent assignment photographers, illustrators and those whose livelihoods are directly dependent on such creatives.

Edward C. Greenberg is a New York City attorney specializing in intellectual property.

Copyright © 2009 Edward Greenberg. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • Dean Siracusa Posted Oct 23, 2009
    This is very scary. If they can do this to "big pharma" they can do it to your business too. Imagine if you will, the Federal Government "having no choice but to end all business deductions" to raise additional revenue for the treasury.

    Historically, taxes on business are on its profits. But, if you start taxing businesses on all revenue you're heading down a path where private business will no longer be viable. I think this is the idea though.

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