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She believes that the problem is two-fold: the distracting images that accompany these lists of adverse effects, and the fact that drug companies are allowed to select the limited list of side effects to include in commercials.
'Drug companies should not be choosing which side effects to list,' Fugh-Berman says.
But more importantly, he adds, consumers often don't fully understand what is being advertised to them.'The more medical ads there are, and there seem to be more, the more warnings people tune out.'Patients don't know what [these ads] are talking about, and instead of losing weight, or getting more sleep or exercise, [consumers] end up going after a pill.''Ethically, I think they're focusing on the wrong question,' says Caplan.
The question shouldn't be whether or not anyone is paying attention to those side effects lists, he says, but whether director to consumer marketing should be allowed at all.'Does it just drive them toward more expensive drugs?
If that is the case, the study could lead to the abolition of side effect lists, as the FDA searches for more effective ways to safely market medication.The FDA investigation, proposed last week, would track eye-movement of subjects watching fake drug commercials, some of which would laundry list side effects by current standards, while others would feature abbreviated lists.It is a bid to assess how we consume warnings The proposal comes amid a boom for the pharmaceutical industry - and a critical drug addiction epidemic.It would not be the first research to show that the current status quo is ineffective.The research proposal cites a 2002 study that suggested that while repetition does improve the likelihood that a reader will recall information, subjects were also more likely to read risks on a full one page summary of Important Safety Information (ISI) than they were to read these in a brief summary, as might be presented in a TV ad.