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Health Aff (Millwood). 2003 Jan-Jun;Suppl Web Exclusives:W3-82-95.

Consumers' reports on the health effects of direct-to-consumer drug advertising.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.


We conducted a national telephone survey about health care experiences associated with direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs. Among the 35 percent of our sample who had a physician visit during which DTCA was discussed, 25 percent received a new diagnosis, of which 43 percent were considered high priority according to authoritative sources. More than half also reported actions taken by their physician other than prescribing the advertised drug. Despite concerns about DTCA's negative consequences, we found no differences in health effects between patients who took advertised drugs and those who took other prescription drugs.

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