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Drug Ads

FEATURED ARTICLES
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 1, 1999
Re "Drug Firms' TV Ads Fuel Rise in Costs and Demand," Nov. 26: We will all get sick often enough and soon enough without having disease thrust in our faces and jammed down our throats. We all have a certain degree of hypochondria, and clever marketers know what buttons to push. When it comes to health care, the hypochondria button works very well. When it comes to health care, marketing does not mix nearly as well as it does for automobiles, fast food or even insurance. Is it anything to make a sale?
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2013 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
The ad on Craigslist was blunt. It offered drugs for money, just like a street corner dealer. The seller was hawking Norco, a popular painkiller, for $6. "Had a left over bottle from a car accident," the anonymous seller posted. "I'm not the police," the seller wrote. "You shouldn't be either. " If two lawmakers have their way, Craigslist - the popular online marketplace - will get rid of such ads. If the website fails to so, they warned, it may be getting a lot more attention from the police.
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OPINION
July 22, 2009 | Christopher Lane, Christopher Lane is the author of, most recently, "Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness."
It's amazing what an hour of aimless channel surfing can turn up these days. After some freewheeling with the remote one night recently, I managed to catch not only half a dozen low-budget makeover shows but also three ads for FDA-approved pharmaceuticals: one for depression, another for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and a third for inadequate eyelash syndrome -- sorry, "eyelash hypotrichosis." Prescription treatment for "longer, thicker and darker lashes"?
BUSINESS
November 18, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
Google, Yahoo and the pharmaceutical industry are pushing to change how prescription drugs are hawked online. That's not a bad thing necessarily. The danger is that all the happy, sunny marketing pitches could end up front and center on the Web and on Twitter, while all the nasty, scary side effects are relegated to cyber-ghettos that consumers never see. "There's no question that the pharmaceutical industry would love to send out abbreviated versions of ads that leave out the scary stuff," said Sidney Wolfe, director of health research for the advocacy group Public Citizen.
HEALTH
June 8, 2009 | Judy Foreman
For years, American consumers have been bombarded with overhyped advertising for prescription drugs. On average, they spend more time watching drug ads on TV -- 16 hours a year -- than talking with their primary care doctors. The ads are often misleading.
BUSINESS
May 18, 2008
I agree completely with the doctors' side in the argument over direct-to-consumer drug ads. ("Drug ads a test of doctors' patience," Consumer Confidential, May 14.) If I trust my doctor and am open with him about any symptoms or complaints, he should know what medicines, if any, I should be taking, based on my information and his examination. The idea that I know, based on some TV ad, about some new condition that I didn't know before that I had, and can inform the doctor what to do about it, assumes that the ad is a more useful or reliable source of information than the doctor.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2003 | From Reuters
U.S. health officials are revising guidelines for prescription drug advertisements directed at consumers to ensure the promotions provide a balanced picture of risks and benefits, FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan said at a meeting with the National Assn. of Health Underwriters. The FDA requires that television and print ads touting a prescription drug's benefits also carry a summary of possible side effects.
BUSINESS
May 8, 2002 | From Bloomberg News
Four Senate Democrats who hope to lower prescription-drug costs introduced legislation that would limit what drug makers spend on advertising by cutting their tax breaks for marketing costs. Firms are allowed to deduct advertising expenses and research and development costs from their taxable income. The Senate bill would limit the amount drug makers can deduct for advertising to what they spend on research. U.S. prescription-drug spending rose 17% to $121.
HEALTH
December 18, 2000 | SALLY SQUIRES, WASHINGTON POST
The prescription drug ads that regularly air on television and appear in magazines pitch medicines directly to consumers, a strategy that the drug industry says educates Americans about various medications. But after studying 320 of the ads, published from 1989 through 1998 in 18 magazines from BusinessWeek to Vogue, a scientific team reports that in addition to failing to educate, most don't explain the basics and some cleverly obscure facts about the products they promote.
OPINION
August 11, 2006
Re "Wake Up: You May Not Need a Pill to Sleep," Aug. 8 I used to agree with the critics of consumer-directed pharmaceutical marketing. That changed last year, when I endured six months of chronic insomnia brought on by the discomfort of an undiagnosed tumor. My entourage of Kaiser doctors churned out prescriptions for potent tranquilizers, painkillers, antidepressants and many other drugs with significant side effects. Ambien was never mentioned because it is not on their formulary.
BUSINESS
September 17, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
Allergan Inc.'s promotions for the eyelash-growing drug Latisse are "misleading" because they don't describe safety risks, regulators said. The Food and Drug Administration cited the website www.latisse.com and a placard with a timeline of the product's introduction in a warning letter to the Irvine company. Allergan says the timeline is no longer being used. Materials promoting a drug's benefits must also address its risks, which in this case include allergic reactions or hair growth outside the treatment area, the FDA said.
OPINION
July 26, 2009
Re "Sick of drug ads," Opinion, July 22 Long overdue. Christopher Lane's statistics on the increased spending on advertising are impressive. When he zeroed in on an outrageous campaign promoting eyelash growth, it reminded me of how I have laughed out loud at some of the televised advertising for real drugs. The long list of "significant side effects" often challenges even the most experienced actor's breath control. I'd like to see a change that limits the listed side effects to two -- and those would need to be measurably less serious than the illness for which the drug is designed.
OPINION
July 22, 2009 | Christopher Lane, Christopher Lane is the author of, most recently, "Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness."
It's amazing what an hour of aimless channel surfing can turn up these days. After some freewheeling with the remote one night recently, I managed to catch not only half a dozen low-budget makeover shows but also three ads for FDA-approved pharmaceuticals: one for depression, another for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and a third for inadequate eyelash syndrome -- sorry, "eyelash hypotrichosis." Prescription treatment for "longer, thicker and darker lashes"?
HEALTH
June 8, 2009 | Judy Foreman
For years, American consumers have been bombarded with overhyped advertising for prescription drugs. On average, they spend more time watching drug ads on TV -- 16 hours a year -- than talking with their primary care doctors. The ads are often misleading.
BUSINESS
May 18, 2008
I agree completely with the doctors' side in the argument over direct-to-consumer drug ads. ("Drug ads a test of doctors' patience," Consumer Confidential, May 14.) If I trust my doctor and am open with him about any symptoms or complaints, he should know what medicines, if any, I should be taking, based on my information and his examination. The idea that I know, based on some TV ad, about some new condition that I didn't know before that I had, and can inform the doctor what to do about it, assumes that the ad is a more useful or reliable source of information than the doctor.
BUSINESS
May 14, 2008 | DAVID LAZARUS
Like many doctors, Ron Ben-Ari thinks ads on TV for prescription drugs frequently go too far in touting a particular pill's benefits without adequately presenting the risks. But Ben-Ari, who has a practice at USC's Health Sciences Campus in East L.A., accepts that the ads have fundamentally altered the doctor-patient relationship. He's found that it can be fruitless to try to talk a patient out of seeking some name-brand medication, even when a cheaper alternative is available.
BUSINESS
November 18, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
Google, Yahoo and the pharmaceutical industry are pushing to change how prescription drugs are hawked online. That's not a bad thing necessarily. The danger is that all the happy, sunny marketing pitches could end up front and center on the Web and on Twitter, while all the nasty, scary side effects are relegated to cyber-ghettos that consumers never see. "There's no question that the pharmaceutical industry would love to send out abbreviated versions of ads that leave out the scary stuff," said Sidney Wolfe, director of health research for the advocacy group Public Citizen.
NATIONAL
April 3, 2008 | Ben DuBose, Times Staff Writer
Citing a new Consumer Reports poll, two members of Congress urged the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday to mandate that all television advertising for prescription drugs include information for consumers to report serious side effects to the agency. The poll found that 16% of respondents who had taken a prescription drug had experienced a side effect serious enough to send them to the doctor or hospital, but only 35% were aware that such side effects could be reported to the FDA.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2008
David Lazarus claims that direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising results in "forcing physicians to respond to people's demands for heavily touted drugs." ("Ads spur urge for drugs," Consumer Confidential, Feb. 6.) Actually, physicians have a government-granted monopoly on prescribing drugs, and no patient can "force" a physician to do anything. Rather, research on physicians' behavior shows that they tend to interrupt quickly while their patients describe symptoms. Such advertising not only falls under the constitutional protection of free speech, but is also symptomatic of a competitive and innovative pharmaceutical market.
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