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.
By Diane Farsetta on January 31, 2007