The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world* that allows pharmaceutical companies to market their products directly to consumers--in commercials like those cute little Zoloft ads and all those coy Viagra spots. Somewhat unsurprisingly, a new study finds that when over-the-counter and prescription drug companies make commercials trying to sell the public on their product, they're not always the most truthful.
As many as six out of 10 pharmaceutical advertisements contain "potentially misleading claims," according to a study from the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The 168 advertisements studied came from a TV archive of ABS, CBS, NBC and CNN broadcasts that aired between 2008 and 2010. The researchers looked at the 6:30 news slot because that's a prime time frame to run drug ads--that's when old people are watching, and old people love their drugs.
Completely false claims about the drugs were pretty rare, probably because false advertising is illegal. But 57 percent of all the commercials left out vital information, or exaggerated something, inserted opinions rather than facts, or made meaningless "lifestyle associations," saying things like "taking x will help you live the life you want to." (Drawing implicit connections between taking Viagra and being a successful sailor might fit that bill).
Here's one example of the kind of misleading claim the authors found:
Eight out of 10 over-the-counter drug ads, which are regulated by the FTC rather than the FDA, had misleading or false claims, compared to six out of 10 prescription drug ads.
Of course, the study was somewhat limited by the fact that it only looked at 30 minute windows of advertising over the course of an entire day. But it seems pretty reasonable to say that the companies that really want people to ask for their drug might be a little biased in their representation of how awesome it is.
* New Zealand is the other.
They should be sued for false advertising. And selling medications that cause more problems then they cure. There's no money in cures, only in lifetime meds.
And where are the “noble and always trustworthy 'scientists'” when this endangering of the public's health was going on? Why weren't they decrying the, at best, misleading content of the ads when they first aired? They were scratching after the dollar! There are supposedly “scientists” who weren't on the payroll of the drug companies who could've said something, why didn't they?
And, face it, it's still going on. The report only covers four television stations, not MSNBC, FOX and so on. Also, it covers only the period from 2008 to 2010. That's when Vioxx, Celebrex and the others were being shilled! Those kind of ads are still being shown. Why aren't the new ones being attacked? Because they represent the next generation of drugs that the pharmaceutical houses haven't made their blood money on yet! And the “scientists” aren't going to call their game until they've made their profits off of this new crop of fraud!
And, if they can't be trusted in their claims about something that is supposedly as obvious as the effects of drugs, how truthful can they be expected to be about topics that are not expected to have any major repercussions in ordinary life to show the “scientists' are liars, like “evolution” or “relativity”?
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Big Pharma is for profit, only. They do not want you cured or free of any illnesses with their pharmaceuticals. They want to keep you sick, again, for profit. Time to abolish them.
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This article clearly identifies negative outcomes of prescription drug advertising. In particular, it focuses on the misleading nature of some advertisements.
Although, these ads are not all bad, and in many ways they end up benefitting consumers. Direct-to-consumer drug advertising allows the public to become more educated about ways to fix their health issues and have an active role in their health.
When surveying the public in 2010, Frosch found that “75% of respondents agree that ads improve their understanding of diseases and treatments.” As a result of these promotions, Americans are able to learn about ways to overcome their health struggles, some of which they may not have even realized they had. This allows consumers to communicate with their doctors and even make requests.
Ultimately these brief ads promote awareness and give the public solutions to their health problems, thus empowering consumers.