Drug Ads Flout FDA Rules in Medical Journals

Anyone who watches TV has been bewildered/amused/confused/annoyed by pharmaceutical ads that begin by explaining how your life can be perfect if you take this drug, and end with a rushed recitation of all the things that can go wrong if in fact you do take the drug.

Drug companies, of course, are obliged by the FDA to include potential side effects when they’re trying to sell you their products. But as proved by a recent study in PLoS ONE (a journal for peer-reviewed scientific and medical research), Big Pharma pretty much thumbs its nose at the FDA when it advertises in medical journals, where it's trying to sell its wares to doctors.

Among the nine publications reviewed by researchers were such mainstream journals as Annals of Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American Medical Association. About half of the ads reviewed violated at least one FDA rule, and about one-third were “possibly” out of compliance because of missing information. More than half of the drug ads failed to quantify serious risks. Fewer than 1 in 5 adhered to all FDA guidelines.

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