By Adrian Dubose | LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE–A bill to regulate advertisements by lawyers seeking clients with problems with drugs or medical devices won final legislative passage Tuesday.
Senate Bill 43 by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, passed the House 70-30 Monday. The Senate concurred 34-1 Tuesday with a House amendment and moved the bill to the governor’s desk.
The bill prohibits lawyers from using terms like “medical alert” or “health alert” in ads soliciting clients who might have had problems with prescription drugs or medical devices.
It also prevents the lawyers from using the logos of government agencies in ways that imply that they have government approval for their lawsuits.
During the House debate, some lawmakers raised questions about the bill’s purpose and whether it was violated the First Amendment.
“The bill is aimed for consumer protection,” said Rep. Gerald “Beau” Beaullieu IV, R-New Iberia. “I think this bill is going to be found constitutional.”
Lawmakers were concerned about who would monitor ads to determine if a lawyer violated the law. That would fall under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general.
SB 43 also requires disclosure of who paid for each ad.
A lawyer could be held liable for false advertising for saying a medication was under recall if the government had not actually recalled the product.