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January 22, 1992

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising With Added Inducements

Author Affiliations

Bethesda Eye Institute St Louis (Mo) University Medical Center

JAMA. 1992;267(4):508. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480040056019

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To the Editor.  —Recently, I saw an advertisement (Parade. August 11, 1991: 13-14) for the medication Tenormin (atenolol, ICI Pharma, Wilmington, Del) that was directed at patients. This full-color advertisement covered two pages and included a number of free and discounted goods and services that a Tenormin patient was eligible to receive. Some of the samples made sense for patients taking a cardioselective β-blocker, such as the low-fat recipes and the decaffeinated coffee. However, other goods such as Polaroid film and compact disks, of less obvious specific benefit to a patient on a prescription drug, were also featured.I have visions of patients coming to a physician's office demanding to be given a specific brand of medication so that they would be eligible to receive these product offers. That certainly appears to be the purpose of this ad, directed as it was to patients reading the Sunday magazine section of