May 6th, 2009
06:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Congressman: No Viagra before 10 p.m.

 Moran wants to limit when Viagra ads can appear.
Moran wants to limit when Viagra ads can appear.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former presidential candidate Robert Dole made headlines as a pitchman for Viagra, and now a decade later a Virginia congressman wants to limit the time when ads for this and similar products can air.

Last month, Democratic Rep. Jim Moran introduced the "Families for ED Advertising Decency Act," which prevents erectile dysfunction and male enhancement ads from appearing on radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"This [the advertisements] is an intrusion into our daily lives that I believe has become inappropriate." Moran said in an interview with CNN. "There is a saturation of the television airwaves with these E.D. ads, and they have gotten more pervasive, more blunt, and less subtle."

The bill currently has only one co-sponsor, Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, and there are currently no hearings scheduled on the issue. But a Moran spokesman said the congressman is actively seeking more support.

"I don't want to be prudish about it," Moran said. "I understand there is limitless market to deal with male insecurity and its fine for drug companies to make a profit on that. The problem is that they are showing these ads when small children are bound to get curious."

UPDATE: Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, defended their commercials in a statement, saying, "Our goal in advertising our products is to reach the people who would be most likely to benefit from them."

Full statement after the jump

Consumers need and want readily available, easy-to-understand health information. Advertisements for prescription medicines provide clear information about medical conditions and treatments and motivate consumers to have productive conversations with their physicians. Pfizer is committed to responsible advertising. We are continually looking for ways to improve our advertising.

Our goal in advertising our products is to reach the people who would be most likely to benefit from them. In line with our policies and the policies of the industry, Viagra advertising is aired in shows most likely to be reach men suffering from erectile dysfunction. ED can be a signal for other serious medical issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Liberal and proud of it dot com

    Advertising is bad for all children – and all adults. Not because there are commercials that make vague references to erecto-pills, toilet paper commercials that make disgusting suggestions, toilet cleaner commercials, tampon commercials, and nearly naked young women draping themselves over every product, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    They are bad for us because they persuade us to buy too much, eat too much (look at your gut before you read on), smoke tobacco (heroin would be healthier), vote for morons, and behave in totally irrational ways as consumers. Commercials do not make rational arguments about the product's features and utility. They show you how wonderful your life will become if you only throw out last year's doo-dad and buy this years, or buy this brand which is exactly like the other brand, or behave in other foolish ways. And if you believe that commercials don't affect your buying and spending behavior, then you are just the sucker I am talking about.

    May 6, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Sherry, N. Calif.

    Learning about these things in biology class is one thing but having them shoved in your children's face before their time is quite another. Big Govern? Perhaps we would not need the Government's help at this time if it were not for the Republicans who would not put regulations in place for the "TOO BIG TO FAIL" Instituitions. Remember we are to "small to matter" and don't you forget it when it comes to the Republicans in Congress. I watched them today, all having panic attacks regarding fraudulent mortgage regulations. We can't even try to fix the problems w/o them protestring BIG GOVERNMENT. They need to move to China where they can be in BIG GOVERN. for real or move to Texas and recede.

    May 6, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Ryan

    "The erectile dysfunction advertisements are not understandable by children and they should not offend anyone." -Nick

    Nick, do you have kids? When they don't understand something, they ask for an explanation. Which leads to...

    "What's wrong with children being curious about sex?" -Brittany

    Nothing in the abstract. But the reality is that I would very much like to be able to watch an NFL game with my six-year-old without a commercial forcing The Big Conversation about sex, followed by an explanation of ED, and what that commercial was for.

    As it is, I have to jump on the remote at each break, pause it (thank goodness for DVRs), wait, and then fast-forward through the sex, drugs and violence known as "NFL commercials."

    Really, I'm not a prude, I just don't think television commercials during what ought to be a family hang-out time should be the genesis of the big questions kids have for their parents.

    May 6, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Tyler

    Yes, because when one Democrat brings a bill to Congress he's representing the entire party. The level of ignorance demonstrated in some of these posts is truly baffling sometimes.
    This is not a Liberal talking point this is a Rep. Jim Moran problem. If Obama comes forward and talks about this being next on his agenda then you can say Democrats are over-reaching. Do some of you just not understand how government works?

    May 6, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. jordan boner

    So the curiosity of children is something that we should guard against and something that the legislature should seek to dissuade? Maybe if the government stopped inhibiting childhood curiosity about normal biological functions there would not be so many teen pregnancies. Then we wouldn't have to watch shows like Jerry Springer which are actually offensive.

    May 6, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Tina,NC

    I support a broader bill that would include more than the ED ones. You should see some of the ads on the cartoon networks. You can't just tell parents to monitor the shows they watch. Parents have no idea or control over the commercials our children see.

    May 6, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Chibeardan

    I agree that parents should be responsible for monitoring their children's prgramming, but that means we should also be able to know the contents of the commercials that will be aired during that programming.

    Why not rate the commercials with a v-chip rating just like they do the programming? Then the programming segment would have to have a rating that would be the most restrictive rating among its programming or commercials. That way, there is no censorship of the programming, and companies can advertise whenever they want, but as a parent, I can keep my kid from watching a relatively mild program like Baseball without my supervision, if I know there are going to be commericals for Viagara, explicit movies, or violent televisin shows.

    May 6, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Jason From Riverside

    The world is not for children – it is for adults. Parents are supposed to prepare their children for the world and definitely are not supposed to tell me what I can and cannot do based on their child's "frail little mind". As the parent it is your responsibility and yours alone to monitor your child if you are afraid of what he or she will see, hear or do. If you do not like what you see on the TV then change networks or write to the networks. DO NOT MAKE NEW LAWS THAT TAKE AWAY RIGHTS! How about we make some laws that give us more rights? That would be a refreshing change. How about some well written laws that make parents liable and solely and ultimately responsible for their children? It seems the farther society 'evolves the more it devolves into everything being 'someone else's problem'. Take some responsibility, and if you can't cut it then do society a favor and let your bloodline end with you.

    May 6, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Grant from Denver, CO

    I loathe the ads Rep. Moran is referring to in his statement. But, his justifications are all wrong. There is a reason children are curious and it is their parents' responsibility to answer those questions; whatever topic they involve. "Sheltering" our children from topics like that are the surest way I can think of for those children to grow-up and deal with the very insecurities that have caused those type of ads to gain a foothold. Educate and inform your children and maybe they won't have to deal with these problems when raising your grandchildren. Just a thought.

    May 6, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. DEMwits

    finally....a good idea from a democrat!

    these commercials are horrible...please spare us the agony

    while you are at it can you attach a rider to this bill to also ban the Sham-Wow and Cash-for-Gold commercials as well

    May 6, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. disturbed parents

    Viagra Ads don't bother me nearly as much as some horror movies or TV shows that contain lots of gory images. We would be eating dinner or watching American Idol when such disturbing Ads pop on our TV. I have to yell at my kids to look away so they won't be trumatized !!
    Who decides what can be shown on time slots? I am all for limiting Ads so nasty garbage does not invade my TV during family hours on family channels.

    May 6, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Cowboy in West Texas

    Show them in the states approving same sex marriages – the men may need the information – seems strange we go for gay marriages but say viagra can't be advertised........we have such strange standards.

    May 6, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Brandon

    Oh no! Children asking natural, healthy questions about how their bodies are meant to function? What is the world coming to?!

    Please. Moran says he doesn't want to be prudish. He's too late.

    May 6, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Scott

    What's the point in advertising Viagra after 10pm? All the potential users are asleep by then.

    ...but the 4-6am slot might be a gold mine.

    May 6, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Please add to this the KY Jelly ads and Victoria Secret commercials. Primetime shouldn't advertise any sexually related ads that children could see that is clearly intended to market to adults. And even to that note, gimme a break, please... Even after 10pm it is annoying to watch a tv show with my husband and a teenage son and have these ads come on the screen. How much more could I squirm in my seat seeing a man looking aroused by his wife in pajamagrams. Does the phrase "Get a Room" mean anything anymore. What a turn off! Stick to tarket marketing the demographics with magazines to reach the adults please! And if I hear one more pharmaceutical ad listing not only the depressing diseases but the three billion side effect disclosures !!!!!!

    May 6, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Dave

    DO I LIVE IN RUSSIA??? Why do liberals want to control EVERYTHING? Can anyone liberal on this blog answer that question without turning it into another conversation so you can "win"?

    May 6, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Objective Thinking

    Sorry Tyler but it's a double standard for folks on here to make a million jabs at Republicans when one Republican does something wrong, but then when a Democrats does something wrong the reaction is "but he's only one Democrat."

    May 6, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Heidi

    I'm fairly liberal and don't like the idea of censorship. While I believe these types of products should get air time, I don't find them suitable for programs where kids are watching. They have become more obvious and even a tad embarassing from an adult perspective.

    May 6, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Robert Mix

    I absolutely agree with this effort. It is so inappropriate to watch television with my 6 and 8 year old daughters and have to be questioned about what an erection is, etc. It is about time someone protect our families sensibilities regarding this medical issue.

    May 6, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. Bob in Pa

    This is what socialism and liberalism will eventually do. Anything that the powers that be are intollerant of will be censored or banned. Case and point: Look at the British Homeland Secretary's recent ban on travel to the UK by certain individuals.

    May 6, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Kendra Johnson

    Also the ads about KY and other gels have been less appropriate during the day and evening hours as well.

    May 6, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. josh devairakkam

    i congradulate ad welcome the congressman for his role many people will be wlcome this kind of indecency in public place

    May 6, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Pat

    If they take ED ads of the air before 10, feminine hygiene ads should go too.

    May 6, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Paul

    All I have to say is AMEN! Please take these ads off of the air during normal viewing hours.

    May 6, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Rob

    Why is the Federal Government even involved in this? Don't they other more pressing issues address such as manage two wars, fix a broken boarder or even figure out a way to not have out kids and grandkids paying for this massive deficit they just brought upon us.

    May 6, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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