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Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better DecisionsEnvisioning Health Care 2020$
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Gerd Gigerenzer and J.A. Muir Gray

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016032

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016032.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Status Quo and Suggestions to Enhance the Delivery of Independent Medication Information

(p.295) 18 Direct-to-Consumer Advertising
Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions

Wolf-Dieter Ludwig

Gisela Schott

The MIT Press

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs has become a focus of public policy concern and academic research. Through it, pharmaceutical companies influence major parts of the health system, including the drug trials upon which DTCA is based. Advocates emphasize its potential in educating the public about health conditions and treatment options, but evidence supporting this argument is sparse. Critics highlight potential risks, such as encouraging the use of new drugs with unknown safety profiles—a view supported by some data. The literature is analyzed to characterize the data on approved drugs currently available on the market. Arguments for and against DTCA are given and an outline is presented of the current regulatory system in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany. Thereafter, appropriate ways of informing patients are discussed. Neither the central regulatory system in the United States nor the voluntary self-regulations in New Zealand and Canada have been able to ensure compliance with standards of acceptable advertising practice for DTCA. Therefore, the ban on DTCA in Europe is justified and should be maintained. To communicate the benefit-risk ratios of drugs to patients, evidence-based, independent, and neutral information is necessary and must be supported.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, direct-to-consumer advertising, drug information, evidence-based information, patient information

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