Healthy Skepticism site scrutinizes drug advertising to physicians

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Direct-to-consumer drug ads have drawn the scrutiny of federal regulators and some independent critics such as Consumer Reports. But the website and project has an AdWatch series that evaluates drug ads targeted at physicians in medical journals.

Pristiq2USA2008-08-20.jpgThe latest is an evaluation of this ad for Pristiq for depression. You should read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

A superficial reading will mislead many people to the impression that the drug is an appropriate choice for major depressive disorder and perhaps wider indications. However, the advertisement does not provide any valid reasons for using this drug. As far as we are aware, there are no valid reasons for using this drug rather than other treatments when indicated. Since most health professionals are unlikely to give advertisements more than a superficial inspection, they are likely to be misled by this one.

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