FDA begins study of images in drug ads

Do images of happy, comfortable consumers with carefree lifestyles distract customers from what they really need to find out from drug ads? That's what the FDA would like to find out. The agency plans to study whether such images prevent consumers from taking in warnings about drug risks.

The FDA's announcement had no sooner come out of the gate than the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America sent out its reply, arguing TV ads are an important way of helping patients learn about disease and treatments for disease. (That, of course, was expected.)

To conduct its research, the FDA will study how 2,000 people react to televised pharma ads, and find out whether subjects have an overwhelmingly positive impression of the advertised products. If consumers do, the agency will probably conclude the ads aren't meeting a legal requirement that drug companies present a balanced picture of their products in ads.

To learn more about the FDA's study:
- read this Associated Press article

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