Survey Finds Drug Ads Drive Prescribing

A survey of 39,090 patients and 335 primary-care physicians reveals the power of direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs. "Seventy-eight percent of doctors said patients asked them at least occasionally to prescribe drugs they had seen advertised on television, and 67 percent said they sometimes did so," Consumer Reports reveals. While a majority of patients rated their doctors highly, approximately one-third "failed to discuss side effects of prescribed drugs, and two-thirds never brought up costs of treatments and tests." Of the doctors surveyed, 40% considered direct-to-consumer ads by the drug industry were a disservice to the public. The report authors urge consumers to "ignore drug ads."