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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6904

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

Glaser T.
Yes . . . but what solutions?
BMJ 1999 Aug 23; 319:(7208):525
http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/319/7208/525/a#4335


Abstract:

Dr Dunea offers a succinct summary of the economic realities of primary care prescribing in the US. Solutions are more complex, especially as the cost of a drug to the patient or their third-party payor depends on various invisible factors, such as the deals which have been struck between the HMO and the drug manufacturer. I recently opened two letters in succession – the first asked me to switch a patient from omeprazole to lansoprazole (on cost grounds), the second asked for exactly the opposite switch on exactly the same grounds. Until third-party payors provide us with a computer system that gives us actual drug costs for actual patients we will continue wasting money on expensive drugs or wasting expensive time on fine-tune substitution of one drug for another. In the meantime I suggest that all direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements be required to state the average cost of the drugs. Every one of the many patients who has come to me wanting their toenail fungus cured, as in the TV ads, has been horrified once told of the cost – and none have been surprised at their insurer’s reluctance to cover this treatment [full text]

Keywords:
*letter to the editor/United States/switch campaigns/drug costs/HMOs/DTCA/direct-to-consumer advertisingINFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: CONSUMERS AND PATIENTS/INFLUENCE OF PROMOTION: PRESCRIBING, DRUG USE

 

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What these howls of outrage and hurt amount to is that the medical profession is distressed to find its high opinion of itself not shared by writers of [prescription] drug advertising. It would be a great step forward if doctors stopped bemoaning this attack on their professional maturity and began recognizing how thoroughly justified it is.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963