Well­ness Arti­cles

Direct-​to-​consumer drug adver­tise­ments increas­ing by drug com­pa­nies

In a March 19, 2001 issue of the Amer­i­can Med­ical News appeared an arti­cle that dealt with the changes in MD’s prac­tices due to drug com­pa­nies increased adver­tis­ing of pre­scrip­tion drugs directly to the con­sumers. For decades the drug indus­try pre­dom­i­nantly spent all adver­tis­ing efforts on get­ting doc­tors to pre­scribe their prod­ucts. How­ever, as of the last sev­eral years the drug com­pa­nies have spent bil­lions of dol­lars adver­tis­ing to con­sumers in an attempt to get con­sumers to request cer­tain drugs from doctors.

Accord­ing to the arti­cle, in 1999, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies spent about $1.8 bil­lion on direct-​to-​consumer adver­tis­ing. This rep­re­sented an increase in spend­ing of more than 1,000% since 1993. This was largely fueled by a boom in tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing, which increased by more than 4,000% in that period. The num­bers rep­re­sent spend­ing in thousands.

TV ads Print ads — — — - — — — 1993 $24,879 $125,089 1994 $35,738 $229,798 1995 $54,816 $319,525 1996 $219,983 $564,697 1997 $309,584 $740,828 1998 $664,413 $630,387 1999 $1,127,107 $711,602

Accord­ing to the National Insti­tute for Health Care Man­age­ment, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C., non­profit, non­par­ti­san orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to improv­ing the effec­tive­ness, effi­ciency and qual­ity of America’s health care sys­tem, the most suc­cess­fully pro­moted pre­scrip­tion drugs rep­re­sent five cat­e­gories: anti­de­pres­sants, cholesterol-​lowering agents, gas­tric acid reduc­ers, oral anti­his­t­a­mines and antihypertensives.

What most peo­ple may not be aware of is that drug ads need not receive Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion approval. How­ever, the Fed­eral Food, Drug, and Cos­metic Act requires that all drug adver­tise­ments con­tain, among other things, brief sum­mary infor­ma­tion regard­ing side effects, con­traindi­ca­tions and effectiveness.

Although some tout this new wave of adver­tis­ing as a good thing, oth­ers see it as cre­at­ing a prob­lem between MDs and their patients. The arti­cle sums up this atti­tude by stat­ing, “As a result, patients ask physi­cians about drugs they’ve seen adver­tised. Some­times their ques­tions pro­voke unpleas­ant confrontations.”

Ran­dom Article

From the March 11, 2008, issue of the the sci­en­tific peri­od­i­cal, the Jour­nal of Ver­te­bral Sub­lux­a­tion Research (JVSR), comes a case study involving

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