Misleading Information Rampant in Pharmaceutical Ads

Drug commercials run constantly on every channel.  Sometimes it is unclear what is ever being treated by some of these medications.  If the purpose of the product is sometimes unknown, then what else is improperly presented by commercials for drugs?

A research team comprised of academics of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Dartmouth College looked to answer that question.  They reviewed the veracity of TV commercials that drug companies run in the United States.

The basis of the study was that the number of claims against an allergy medicine Claritin became six times as likely when it no longer required a prescription.  That stat led Adrienne E. Faerber to run the following test and publish the results in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Faerber compiled over 160 commercials; half consisted of prescription medicines ads and half over the counter.  Each commercial had been aired on nightly news shows between 2008 and 2010.  Each ad was reviewed to identify claims that were made as well as the evidence to substantiate those claims.  Each was given a final report of being either “objectively true”, “misleading” or “false”.

The results that they found were scary.  There was a rampant disregard for the truth in most commercials.  Of prescription drug ads, 60 percent were found to include misleading statements.  The number for over the counter drug ads is greater as 80 percent were found to contain false information.  “There were cases of blatant lying, but these half-truths form more than half of our analysis,” said Faerber.

While the Food and Drug Administration monitors these prescription pharmaceutical commercials but doesn’t stop them from airing.  Once the commercials are airing, then they step in and report dishonest claims.  The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for over the counter medication, but they are less specialized.

It is difficult for the two organizations to monitor all the new commercials that are aired.  At least for prescription drugs, your doctor should be skilled enough to mitigate any possible adverse reactions.  When a doctor is negligent when prescribing medicine, it could be dangerous.  If you or your family has been affected by an improperly prescribed pharmaceutical, then contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in DuPage County to review your possible medical malpractice lawsuit.

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