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Comments, Opinions, and Brief Case Reports
Health Care Reform
November 23, 2009

Direct-to-Consumer Offers for Free and Discounted Medications on the Internet: A Content Analysis of “e-Samples”

Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(21):2024-2030. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.397

The United States has witnessed dramatic changes in the marketing of prescription drugs over the past decade. From one perspective, patients, exposed to a dramatic increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) promotion of prescription medications,1 are now “consumers” of health care. The pharmaceutical industry suggests that this promotion helps patients make more informed choices.2 However, observers have questioned the benefits of DTC marketing and the balance of associated risk and benefit information.3,4

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