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October 6, 1999

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Education or Anathema?

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

JAMA. 1999;282(13):1226-1228. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-13-jbk1006

To the Editor: Mr Holmer1 makes a case in support of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising that puts critics on the defensive. After all, who can be against free speech and educating and empowering patients?

Holmer plays down the inflationary effect of DTC advertising, with which the costliest drugs are pitched with all the skill that the advertising budgets of pharmaceutical companies can buy. There is no corresponding lobby for less expensive drugs with lower profit potential. Instead, spin doctors take over from medical doctors and profitability supersedes the presentation of balanced information.

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