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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 9542

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

McLaughlin SS.
Novel promotional activities, direct-to-consumer advertising subjects of FDA scrutiny
American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 1989 May; 46:870, 875


Abstract:

The Food and Drug Administration’s stance on regulating new promotional activities of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is discussed. FDA cannot regulate where an advertisement is placed or what form it takes, but it can ensure that these new advertising modes comply with regulations imposed on more conventional forms of advertising, such as advertisements in professional journals.

 

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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963