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Debate: Direct to consumer prescription drug advertisements

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Should Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertisements be Banned?

Background and context

In 1962 amendments were made to to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the job of regulating pharmaceutical companies effectiveness. It also changed responsibility for prescription drug advertising from the Federal Trade Commission to the FDA. In 1982, the FDA declared a “moratorium” on DTC advertising. In 1985 the ban was lifted, but strict regulations were put in place.In 1997, the FDA reinterpreted the regulations making them much less restrictive. Currently people are advocating changing the rules again, some advocate a ban on advertising for drugs less than two years old, others advocate a complete ban as it was in 1982.

Contents

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Are these advertisements helpful/informational?

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Pro

  • Ads provide useful information 'The majority of products advertised treat conditions which are under treated. Drugs dealing with diseases such as depression, diabetes, and high cholesterol are some of the most often advertised These advertisements can help inform viewers about their conditions, and prompt visits to physicians, who can help treat the problem early on. Additionally informed americans is a good thing, as physicians do not always recommend necessary or helpful drugs, or patients do not visit their doctors often enough to be diagnosed. Only approximately half the patients in America get beta blockers after a heart attack. Clearly, an advertisement for beta blockers would be informational, rather than harmful.
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Con

  • Many ads don't include enough information on how well drugs work. For example, Lunesta is advertised by a moth floating through a bedroom window, above a peacefully sleeping person. Actually, Lunesta helps patients sleep 15 minutes faster after six months of treatment and gives 37 minutes more sleep per night. The Majority of ads are based on emotional appeals, but few include causes of the condition, risk factors, ore important lifestyle changes. In a studyof 38 pharmaceutical advertisements researchers found that 82 percent made a factual claim and 86 percent made rational arguments for product use. Only 26 percent described condition causes, risk factors, or prevalence


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Would a ban be unconstitutional?

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