Federal Regulators To Study Medication Ads’ Effects on Consumers
FDA on Tuesday announced plans to study whether positive images featured in direct-to-consumer television advertisements for medications "distract consumers from carefully considering and encoding" audio warnings about the treatments, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
For the study, FDA plans to examine the reactions of 2,000 consumers to such ads to determine whether they retain a positive impression of medications despite audio warnings about potential side effects. In addition, FDA will study the effects of text that appears on the screen during such ads.
According to FDA, text that directs consumers to company Web sites or magazine ads for more information might distract them from audio warnings about medications, while text that repeats the language of such warnings might help reinforce them.
Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, said, "If advertisers were really interested in getting information about drug risks out, they'd show pictures of those problems, but you almost never see that."
In a statement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said that DTC TV ads provide consumers with important information about diseases and medications (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8/21).