Direct to Consumer Ads–the New Health Hucksters

This from McClatchy (Seattle Times). More in the NEJM here.

Note the increase in prescription spending between 1999 and 2009; their excess profits; and contributions to political campaigns.

Drug companies spend more on marketing and advertising than research the result is price increases:

  • “By the end of 2005, the cost to taxpayers for a Plavix prescription filled by a Medicaid patient rose 25 percent beyond the more modest rate of inflation that would have been expected before advertising began.”

Medicynical Note: Only the U.S. and New Zealand allow such ads. They should be stopped as they are misleading and costly. Alternatively, advertisers should disclose all side effects and costs/month of the medication along with a standardized disclosure of efficacy and the fact that alternative approaches are available.

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