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Consumer Ads Boost Doctors' Scripts

Does direct drug marketing through pharmaceutical ads affect physicians prescribing patterns? Sure does according to a study reported in the April 27, 2005 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association according to a report by Reuters.

Educating patients is one thing. Turning physicians into shills for pharmaceutical companies is quite another.

The drug pusher in your neighborhood is not selling crack on the corner, it is the pharmaceutical company advertising on your TV and leaving samples in your doctor's office.

"Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs seems to increase the likelihood that physicians will prescribe those drugs, according to a study in the April 27th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This can have mixed results in patient care, averting underuse in some cases and promoting overuse in others."

Unforturnately, I see this happen in my psychotherapy practice all the time. My clients tell me that their physician gave them samples of whatever the current antidepressant is. For a few years it was Paxil, and then Celexa, and now Effexor. I can tell from my therapist's chair what pharmaceutical reps have been to what doctor's offices just by what samples my clients tell me that their Primary Care Physician has given them.

Actually, if I was a mercenary, cyncial kind of guy, it might be a good way of choosing which pharmaceutical stocks to invest in, knowing what drugs are being pushed this year.

Link: MedlinePlus: Consumer Ads Boost Doctors' Scripts - Study.

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