Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Study says direct-to-consumer drug advertising not that effective

From the Canadian Press:
Drug advertisements aimed at consumers may not be having the effect on sales that opponents and proponents of the practice assume they do, a new study suggests.

The analysis, by researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Alberta, looked at Canadian sales data for three drugs that were heavily advertised in the United States, ads which Canadians watching U.S. television would have seen.

The researchers found no evidence of a spike in sales for two of the drugs after the TV ads started to run. There was a marked increase in sales for a third drug but the effect was short-lived.

"I think that we've shown that the effects are pretty unimpressive for the three drugs we've looked at," said Harvard professor Stephen Soumerai, the senior author.

"Two out of three there isn't an ounce of effect."

The study was published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal's online edition. The authors say it is the first to actually test for evidence of an impact of drug ads by using what's called a control group. ...more

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