Direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising – a $3.2 billion industry in the United States – not only sways patients to ask for certain medications, but profoundly influences the way doctors make initial treatment decisions, according to an April 27 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
University of Rochester Medical Center Professor Ronald M. Epstein, M.D., had a lead role in the research, which focused on antidepressants, as they consistently rank among the top advertised drugs. The study showed that doctors prescribed antidepressants far more often when patients asked for them. Furthermore, the study revealed that consumer advertising may have competing effects on health-care quality, by promoting the overuse of drugs in some cases while also averting under use and raising consumer awareness of disease.
The study was a collaborative effort between the UR Department of Family Medicine and University of California, Davis, Center for Health Services. The corresponding author is Richard L. Kravitz, M.D., MSPH, at UC/Davis.
Mark Michaud | EurekAlert!
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