Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
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.
Shein D. Liability for Adverse Events in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising. JAMA. 2003;289(20):2646. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2646-a