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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 3008

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Journal Article

Solomon F, Mendelson WB.
Sleeping pills.
N Engl J Med 1979 Jul 26; 301:(4):214-5


(Limited to parts of article dealing with promotion.) Examination of current advertisements raises doubts about whether they present balanced, clinically relevant information to aid the conscientious physician in prescribing hypnotics. The Food and Drug Administration needs to be more vigilant and timely in insisting on “complete labeling” that is maximally useful in both format and content to the physician. Consideration should be given to requiring that such complete information appear in advertisements rather than being limited to the Physicians’ Desk Reference and professional package inserts.

*nonsystematic review/United States/journal advertisements/quality of information/regulation of promotion/Food and Drug Administration/FDA/hypnotic/EVALUATION OF PROMOTION: JOURNAL ADVERTISEMENTS/PROMOTION IN SPECIFIC THERAPEUTIC AREAS: PSYCHIATRIC DISEASES/REGULATION, CODES, GUIDELINES: DIRECT GOVERNMENT REGULATION Anti-Anxiety Agents/adverse effects* Flurazepam/adverse effects* Humans Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/drug therapy


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963