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Capitol Health Call
January 1, 2003

Misleading Advertisements

JAMA. 2003;289(1):35. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.35-a

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.

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