Study: Direct-to-consumer drug ads can be misleading

Drugmakers have taken a lot of flack over direct-to-consumer drug advertising, but to date, Congress hasn't imposed any major limitations on the practice. Critics have argued that such ads encourage the use of costly new drugs over equally-effective generics. And those critics aren't going away anytime soon, it seems, especially if studies like these keep coming.

The latest challenge to DTC drug ads comes from researchers with the University of California, Los Angeles. The research team, led by clinical psychologist Dominick L. Frosch, concluded that American TV viewers see as many as 16 hours of prescription drug advertisements every years.

The study found that DTC drug advertisements aren't doing much to help consumers make better health decisions, either. With commercials featuring emotional portrayals of drug benefits, and risk messages obscured by happy imagery, consumers can easily be mislead, suggests the study.

Moreover, most ads don't provide enough information to help consumers determine whether the drug would help them, according to the study, which is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

To learn more about the study:
- read this UPI piece

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