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Direct-to-Consumer Drug Ads Not Educational

Can you believe it? “DTC [direct-to-consumer] ads have ‘limited’ educational value and may ‘oversell’ the benefits of drugs in way that may conflict with promoting health,” according to a study published in The Annals of Family Medicine.

Maybe it’s because they are advertisements, which Merriam-Webster says are used to “to call public attention to especially by emphasizing desirable qualities so as to arouse a desire to buy or patronize.”

[via Kevin, MD]

3 Responses to Direct-to-Consumer Drug Ads Not Educational

  1. Aaron says:

    Whenever I see an ad for a drug on TV, I know these things:

    – Not generic and won’t be for 11 years or more.
    – Drug reps are getting doctors to push it.
    – It’s wondrous side effects will conveniently be cured with another drug created by the same lab.
    – I’ll go broke using it.

  2. katy says:

    Direct to Consumer drug ads are currently illegal in Canada, but CanWest Media here has launched a challenge to the law which worries me.
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Direct-to-consumer_advertising:_CanWest's_Bid_to_Overturn_Canada's_Ban
    They argue that since we are exposed to DTC drug ads from the US on a regular basis, it’s therefore no big deal if we pile on a bunch of Canadian DTC drug ads and in fact it’s only fair if we do so. (gag) DTC drug advertising is only legal in two countries–the United States and New Zealand. I’m hoping that CanWest’s challenge fails. Not only because I don’t think it’s all that helpful, but also because it’s one of the main causes of skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

    This paper is really quite interesting reading about Direct to Consumer Drug advertising.
    http://healthcouncilcanada.ca/docs/papers/2006/hcc_dtc-advertising_200601_e_v6.pdf_200601_e_v6.pdf

    ********
    Fantastic paper, thanks for sharing it. I, too, hope that it doesn’t get approved in Canada.

    And good point about rising drug prices. Not something I’d thought about, but it makes tons of sense (billions of sense?).

    Kerrie

  3. Christina P says:

    Direct-to-consumer ads are not permitted in the EU either, and their prices are roughly half of ours.

    I don’t think it would hurt us at all to ban the practice.

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