Less Than a Third of Heavily Advertised Drugs have 'High Therapeutic Value': Study as reported by US News and World Report
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of US News & World Report
Posted: May 22nd, 2023
Television ads for drugs are filled with glowing images of people living their best lives, all thanks to that new med they've been prescribed. But drugs being touted on TV often have little to no benefit compared to other treatments, a new study published online Jan. 13 in JAMA Network Open finds. Fewer than one-third of drugs commonly advertised in the United States are highly rated first-line therapies, based on regulatory reviews from three different health agencies, the researchers said. Further, medications categorized as "low benefit" accounted for nearly $16 billion of the $22 billion in TV ad spending during the six-year study period, the results showed. "Proponents of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising often argue that these ads have high public health value by encouraging uptake of the most therapeutically beneficial therapies. Our study pushes back against this argument," said lead researcher Neeraj Patel. "The U.S. is one of only two high-income countries in the world that widely permits direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs," Patel said. "And there's been a ton of empirical research over the past two decades that has suggested that this type of advertising can be misleading, lead to inappropriate prescribing, and inflate health care costs." In the meantime, people should have frank discussions with their doctor about any drug that's caught their eye on TV, focusing on the real risks and benefits, Patel said.
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