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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 6907

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

Holmer AF.
Direct-to-consumer advertising: Education or anathema? [reply]
JAMA 1999 Oct 6; 282:(13):1227-1228


Alper implies that DTC advertising has changed the traditional patient-physician relationship. I believe DTC advertising is a product of the force changing the relationship, the information revolution. 74% of consumers see DTC advertising as a way to help people become more involved in their own health care. I did not hint that physicians share in the wealth created by DTC advertising. The rise in the share of the health care dollar allocated to pharmaceuticals should be attributed not to DTC advertising but to the fact that health care professionals are turning increasingly to cost-effective drugs to improve outcomes. Rosner and colleagues fail to acknowledge the value of DTC advertising in addressing the documented problems of underdiagnosis and undertreatment. They do not document the alleged potential harm of DTC advertising. Instead, they call for a ban on it, and additional policing by the FDA which does not need additional authority.

*letter to the editor/United States/


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.