Some pharmaceutical manufacturers repeatedly run misleading advertisements
that millions of consumers view or hear before the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) can put a stop to them, according to a report from the General Accounting
Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. The violations include unsubstantiated
claims and failure to provide information about health risks.
The report, Prescription Drugs: FDA Oversight of Direct-to-Consumer
Advertising Has Limitations, comes amid a huge increase in direct-to-consumer
advertisements in recent years, which the GAO said apparently contributes
to an increase in prescription drug spending. Prescription drug spending has
increased an average of 18% per year since 1997, when regulations for the
advertisements were loosened.
Vastag B. Misleading Advertisements. JAMA. 2003;289(1):35. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.35-a