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Study suggests consumers are swayed by TV drug ads

Raising new questions about the propriety of advertising prescription
drugs on television, a new study has indicated that almost half the
$20.8-billion increase in drug spending last year could be attributed to
increases in the sales of the 50 most advertised prescription medicines.

In reporting on the report by the National Institute for Health Care
Management, Wednesday’s New York Times observed that the
TV ads have become more controversial as both their number and the
amount spent on them continue to rise.

However, Alan F. Holmer,
president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America,
told the Times: “Surveys of both patients and physicians show
that direct-to-consumer advertising leads patients who would otherwise
go without medical care for these terrible illnesses to seek treatment
for the first time.”

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Only the U.S. and New Zealand permit ads for
prescription medicines on television.

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