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October 6, 1999

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Education or Anathema?—Reply

Author Affiliations

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

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

In Reply: Dr Alper implies that DTC advertising has changed the traditional patient-physician relationship. I believe that DTC advertising is a product of the same force that is changing the patient-physician relationship, the information revolution. As Lloyd M. Krieger wrote in a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, "Health care is undergoing an information revolution. Not only are hospitals and doctors learning to track and compare the cost and effectiveness of treatments, but patients are also savvier about their ailments and their doctors. Patients who see me are quoting from medical articles they found on the Internet as often as they are citing commercials for a wonder drug they saw during Frasier."1 As Prevention Magazine found in a nationwide study conducted during the spring of 1998, 74% of consumers see DTC advertising as a way to help people become more involved in their own heath care.2

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