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Gregory Spizer
Gregory Spizer
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Pharma’s Advertisements – What are our doctors being told?

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A March 2008 article in USA Today reported that the pharmaceutical industry spent the following on advertising in 2006: 4.8 billion dollars in consumer ads and 7.2 billion marketing to doctors. Staggering numbers. Unfortunately, a recent study by Dr. Deborah Korenstein, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, found that the vast majority of pharmaceutical advertisements in biomedical journals were not compliant with FDA regulations.

The study, recently published in the Public Library of Science Journal, found that of 192 pharmaceutical advertisements in biomedical journals, only 18 percent satisfied FDA guidelines. This is distressing as Dr. Korenstein noted in a press release from Mt. Sinai: “Marketing research has consistently shown that journal advertising is the most profitable form of drug marketing, with an estimated return on investment of five dollars for every dollar spent …. The current system is not in the best interests of the health of the public.” Especially troubling is that of the 192 advertisements reviewed, 57.8 percent did not quantify serious risks.

In previous blog posts, I have stressed that information about our medicines must be set forth in a transparent and simple to read format. Dr. Korenstein’s study confirms this. If almost 60% of pharmaceutical advertisements do not quantify a drug’s risks, then those risks cannot be considered when a physician is determining whether or not to prescribe the product. This cannot continue.

If Pharmaceutical companies decide to advertise, they have an obligation to do so accurately and fairly and if they fail, the FDA must lay down the law. Our health system only works if those on the front line – doctors – know the full story of the medicines they are prescribing.

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    Big Pharma is the REAL drug cartel in North America. Their overmedicating of the American public through obscene advertising leads to nearly 100,000 deaths per year! Prescription drugs are more dangerous than any felony drug substance in the world including heroin, cocaine and even alcohol combined. Read about this issue and what’s killing people at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/07/illustration-friday-800-milligrams.html