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Editorial
Sep 12, 2011

Conservative Use of Prescription DrugsComment on “Communicating Uncertainties About Prescription Drugs to the Public”

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(16):1470. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.370

The study by Schwartz and Woloshin suggests that the US public has a firm but unfounded belief that US Food and Drug Administration–approved drugs are highly effective and safe.

And unfortunately, after being informed that new drugs (which don't have a track record of safety) may be more dangerous than older drugs, and that drugs shown to improve surrogate outcomes may not actually prevent disease, a large proportion of persons still chose new drugs—and those without evidence of clinical benefit. Perhaps selecting the most clinically effective and safe drug should be the responsibility of properly trained clinicians.

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