Drug manufacturers insist we all have our daily dose of DTCPA. The question is: At what point does DTCPA become toxic?
DTCPA stands for Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising, and unless you spend all your time in a hole in the ground, you have certainly consumed your share. If you are old enough to remember when these ads first began to take TV viewers and magazine readers by surprise in the 1990s, you may even find them a little disconcerting still.
And there is good reason for that. Although there is much to be said for educating people to be more health conscious and proactive in their medical decision-making, the data suggest the ads may not be a boon to public well-being:
The average American television viewer watches as many as nine drug ads a day, totaling 16 hours per year, which far exceeds the amount of time the average individual spends with a primary care physician.
The United States is among only two countries (the other is New Zealand) that permit pharmaceutical ads that make specific product claims.
Since 2002, when new requirements were placed on warning letters issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the number of such warning letters has declined dramatically — while the proportion of such letters aimed at DTCPA has more than doubled.
Despite widespread support in the medical field of lifestyle change as a key to health, DTCPA rarely mentions diet, exercise or other factors as an alternative — or even an adjunct — to drug treatment.
Studies have shown that despite FDA regulation, drug ads tend to exaggerate benefits and minimize discussion of risk.
Given the alarming number of product liability cases involving dangerous drugs, consumers would do well to take the hype about these medicines with a grain of salt.
Posted in Products Liability
Tagged pharmaceutical marketing, pharmaceutical products liability