In Reply: Drs Miller and Wendler raise ethical
concerns about our study. Because of space constraints within the article,
we used the shorthand language quoted in their letter to describe our consent
procedures. However, the actual situation was more complicated. Varying institutional
review board (IRB) requirements and sensibilities led to the use of somewhat
different language and procedures at each of the 4 study sites. For example,
at 1 site, the physician recruiting script included the following statement: “The
general hypothesis is that the way patients portray their symptoms and the
context in which they present will influence how medical care is delivered.
I’m afraid we can’t give you all the specifics now, because we
don’t want to affect the results of the study. We will debrief everyone
at the end.” Scripts at other sites included variations of this language,
but all conveyed the same essential message.
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and Physician Prescribing—Reply. JAMA. 2005;294(6):678-679. doi:10.1001/jama.294.6.678-b