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The Patient with Excessive Worry
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Advertising for drugs was deemed an entirely different issue. Considered to be a matter of guarding against consumer fraud, oversight of drug marketing was placed in the hands of the chief federal agency charged with consumer protection enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission . Over the next several decades, Congress recognized the distinction between over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs and, via the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments , authorized the FDA to regulate prescription drug marketing, while keeping over-the-counter drug advertising under the control of the Federal Trade Commission [1, 3, 8].
Given the paternalistic nature of the physician-patient relationship until the mids, DTCA was primarily geared toward physicians . Drug companies simply advertised their drugs to doctors who, in turn, told their patients what drugs to take . The commercial behavior of pharmaceutical companies began to shift during the s, however, as manufacturers couched their desire to reach the American public in terms of educating consumers about the drugs they were taking and empowering patients to become active, informed medical decision makers .
In , following considerable debate within the medical industry and among regulators, the FDA held a public hearing on the matter and set forth a final determination on what DTCA actions were allowed by drug manufacturers . The marketing rules laid out in that determination were finalized in and guide DTCA practices today.
An Apple Watch told a year-old man he had an irregular heartbeat. It was right. - ABC News
There is considerable flexibility, however, in how this risk information can be conveyed. Drug manufacturers must still disclose all of the important risks in a product claim advertisement, but they need not provide all of that information in a single commercial segment . Instead, they can list additional resources where people can obtain more information about the drug. Such informational vehicles include toll-free phone numbers, websites, or referral to physicians or pharmacists who people can consult about whether a drug is appropriate for them . Finally, under current federal law, manufacturers are not required to seek preapproval from the FDA before a DTCA campaign is launched .
Instead, drug makers must only provide advertising materials when a drug reaches the marketplace . Despite what the law requires, data suggest that many companies submit their advertising campaigns for FDA approval before making their drugs available to consumers to establish good rapport with the agency and the public . As federal law governing DTC drug advertising has evolved over the last century, the presence of these campaigns has increasingly become a salient feature in the lives of Americans who turn on their televisions to watch a reality show, only to be bombarded with drug commercials about managing Crohn disease.
The renewed impetus behind DTCA was supposed to endow average consumers with an ability to make better choices about what drugs they wanted to treat their health conditions and, overall, create a healthier nation.
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But what has actually come about from DTCA remains an open point of contention among policymakers, scholars, and medical professionals. In favor of DTCA. Proponents also claim that patients who have a bounty of health information at their fingertips are more likely to seek the advice of their physicians  and approach their doctors about conditions they may have neglected to bring up in previous appointments . Some data suggest that these claims are true. In a survey conducted by the FDA, 53 percent of physicians said that, because of DTCA, they engaged in better conversations with their patients about medical treatment options and noted that their patients asked more thoughtful and educated questions relating to their medical care .
Not in favor of DTCA.