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May 28, 2003

Liability for Adverse Events in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(20):2646. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2646-a

To the Editor: In their article about direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA), Dr Mello and colleagues1 discussed whether drug companies should share product liability relating to advertising claims. They concluded that learned intermediaries (ie, physicians) will probably need to continue to assume some of these risks. However, DTCA has the power to change patients' perspectives and personal risk-benefit analyses, leading them to want therapies or take risks they might not otherwise accept. Even learned intermediaries can fail in the face of overwhelming advertising pressures. Exaggerations or misleading representations present a danger for patients2 and I believe that they should lead to greater liability for the advertisers.

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