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December 13, 2004

Unregulated Direct-to-Consumer Marketing and Self-referral for Screening Imaging Services: A Call to Action

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(22):2406-2408. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.22.2406

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it. Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), humorist and political economist

In this issue of Archives, Illes et al1 present a descriptive study of the content of a sample of direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing publications, and the findings are disturbing. Their study of 40 newspaper advertisements and 20 brochures from a variety of national and regional sources found that the DTC marketing for the industry of screening computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) frequently contains misinformation, unsubstantiated scientific claims, and fear-provoking threats and that it lacks information on uncertainties and risks associated with such imaging.

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