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Contracept Technol Update. 1998 Dec;19(12):153-5.

Direct-to-consumer advertising affects provider / patient relationship.

[No authors listed]



Family planning program clients are increasingly seeking oral contraceptive pills by brand name. Direct-to-consumer ads have spurred this recent increase in brand-specific requests for prescription drugs. While print consumer pitches for prescription drugs have been around for a long time, proposed guidance issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 1997 allows pharmaceutical companies to more easily broadcast product claim commercials on television and radio. Now, half of all direct-to-consumer advertising dollars spent by pharmaceutical companies during January-February 1998 were directed to television ads, almost twice the share spent upon television last year. Last year, pharmaceutical companies spent more than $1 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising. The effects of this new policy are presenting in providers' offices. Before the FDA guidance, 41% of physicians participating in a national survey observed an increase in patients' requests for brand name drugs. However, since the change, 65% surveyed to date have observed an increase in such requests. With the increase in advertising comes a potential for violations of the US Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which regulates provider and consumer prescription drug advertising. 125 companies were cited for violations in 1998, 6 specifically for violations connected with contraceptive information they disseminated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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