By Diane Farsetta on January 31, 2007

A new study "funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the Jan. 29 Annals of Family Medicine, claims the $4.5 billion" direct-to-consumer drug ad (DTC) industry "produces ads that are more emotional than informational, and may be convincing Americans that they're sicker than they really are," reports Advertising Age. Lead author Dominick Frosch said, "DTC ads send the message that you need drugs" for problems "that many people used to manage without prescription drugs." Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler warned that advertising drugs "based on their emotional appeal is something that has great risks." The study found that 95 percent of DTC ads made "emotional appeals," 78 percent "implied that use of the medication would result in social approval," and only 25 percent included information about illness prevalence. The Association of National Advertisers and the Coalition for Healthcare Communications, an industry group, expressed reservations about the study.

Comments

Interesting that the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation can't find any
parallels between drug ads using emotional manipulation and the emotional blackmail so many antiobesity crusaders including themselves use. Wonder if it is because this foundation is so closely linked to "the family" company of Johnson and Johnson who makes equipment for bariatric surgery. $$$$$

"Weight obsession is a social disease. If we cared more about CO2 than BMI there would still be time."

Regardless, the amount of over medication in America is still disturbing.

I make music at www.penanonymous.com.

Why is this type of advertising allowed at all? It is simply outrageous, and passes on a very unfortunate lesson to young people... that there's a "cure" for everything that ails you (even those imaginary ailments), and that it comes in the form of a pill, patch or surgical implant. "Ask your doctor."

I have never seen DTC prescription drug ads on television in other countries, and I've traveled fairly widely; does anyone know if it's even allowed elsewhere in the world? And what can we do to outlaw it here in the States? Why are our doctors putting up with it; do they have any leverage in the matter?

Only the U.S. and New Zealand currently allow DTC ads. See [[Direct-to-consumer advertising in the United States]] and related articles on SourceWatch.