Study: Drug Ads Misleading. No, Really.

Big pharma uses tricks, distractions to veil harmful side-effects
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2008 12:18 PM CDT

Drug ads are multiplying on TV, and manufacturers are starting to advertise medical equipment used in invasive procedures, so now might be a good time to wonder what the spots are telling us. Not as much as they should, Time reports. An independent researcher has found drug companies are using distractions, fast-talking, and tricks gleaned from neuroscience to downplay negative side-effects.

According to a government study, every $1,000 big pharma spends on ads buys 24 new prescriptions, and almost $5 billion is spent annually. If they work wonders, it may be because side-effects, which must be discussed by FDA mandate, are often sequestered somewhere after the middle, but not at the end of the ad, where they are most likely to be forgotten. (More drug companies stories.)

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