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70% of Drugs Advertised on TV Have 'Low Therapeutic Value', Study Finds


Ads often tout new, expensive drugs that are not much better than older, cheaper ones.

Beth the Mole- UTC January 17, 2023 10:26 PM

70% of drugs advertised on TV are of “low therapeutic value,” study finds 70% of drugs advertised on TV are of “low therapeutic value,” study finds

Some new drugs market themselves with impressive safety and efficacy data. For everyone else, well, there are TV commercials.

According to a new study, television Slightly more than 70 percent of prescription drugs advertised were rated as having “low therapeutic value,” meaning they offered little benefit over drugs already on the market. The study, published in JAMA Open Network, is in line with longstanding skepticism that heavily promoted drugs have high therapeutic value. “One explanation might be the huge Drugs of therapeutic value are likely to be recognized and prescribed without advertising, so manufacturers have greater incentives to promote drugs of lower value,” said the authors, which include studies from Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth personnel.

The United States is the only two countries that allow direct One of the countries where direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising (such as TV commercials) takes place. (The other is New Zealand.) Doctors, medical associations and consumer advocates have long opposed the unusual practice. In 2006, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen summed up DTC advertising as “nothing short of revolving around the end of the doctor-patient relationship—an attempt to turn patients into agents of drug companies as they pressure doctors to get what they can.” Unwanted drug.” The American Medical Association is calling for a blanket ban on DTC prescription drug and medical device ads. AMA members stated that the advertisements “drive demand for expensive treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of lower-cost alternatives.”

But DTC drug advertising continues, fueled by billions of dollars in the pharmaceutical industry. No benefits added In this new study, led by the Harvard University Project on Regulation, Therapeutics, and the Law (PORTAL) Researchers led by Aaron Kesselheim looked at the period from 2015 to 2021.

They also queried therapeutic value ratings for these drugs from independent health evaluators in Canada, France, and Germany. Value ratings are based on a drug’s therapeutic benefit, safety and strength of evidence compared to existing drugs. Any drug rated “moderate” or above was classified as a “high value” drug for the study. For drugs with multiple ratings, the study authors used the most favorable rating, which they note may overestimate the proportion of more beneficial drugs.

Among the most advertised drugs are 73 have at least one value rating. From 2015 to 2021, pharmaceutical companies spent a total of $22.3 billion advertising these 73 drugs. Even with high ratings, 53 of the 73 drugs (approximately 73%) were classified as low-efficiency drugs. Collectively, these low-potency drugs accounted for $15.9 billion in ad spending. In dollar terms, the top three least effective drugs were dulaglutide (type 2 diabetes), varenicline (smoking cessation), and tofacitinib (rheumatoid arthritis).

The authors point out that prospects for change are bleak. “Policymakers and regulators could consider limiting direct-to-consumer advertising to drugs of high therapeutic or public health value, or requiring standardized disclosure of comparative efficacy and safety data,” conclude Kesselheim and colleagues , “But policy changes may require industry cooperation or constitutional challenges.”



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