Tracking the Drug Facts Box
The pharmaceutical industry spent over $5 billion on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs in 2007—over half the entire U.S. Food and Drug Administration's budget for that year, according to a study by DMS physician-researchers Lisa Schwartz, Steven Woloshin, and H. Gilbert Welch. According to another study, average American television viewers spend more time watching DTC ads—up to 16 hours per year, or two and half minutes per day—than they spend with their primary care physician. The ads are full of information about risk factors and side effects, but they include little data on how well a drug works, say Schwartz, Woloshin, and Welch. Read More...
- Inside the Drug Facts Box (see "Video" section)
Text and Images
Note: The names of the drugs in the following examples are made up, but the data is real.
- Drug facts box for Maxtor, a drug to relieve heartburn
Scan of advertisement for Maxtor
- Drug facts box for Amcid, a drug that reduces blood clotting
Scan of advertisement for Amcid
- Drug facts box for Concor, a drug that lowers cholesterol
Scan of advertisement for Concor
A list of some of the many articles about direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and communicating health statistics to the public:
- 2009, Woloshin, Steven; Lisa Schwartz; and H. Gilbert Welch, "Using a Drug Facts Box to Communicate Drug Benefits and Harms," Annals of Internal Medicine 150 (8): 516-527.
- 2008, Avorn, Jerry, "Drug warnings that can cause fits—communicating risks in a data-poor environment," New England Journal of Medicine 359 (10): 991-4.
- 2007, Woloshin, Steven; Lisa Schwartz; and H. Gilbert Welch, "The effectiveness of a primer to help people understand risk," Annals of Internal Medicine 146 (4): 256-265.
- 2007, Woloshin, Steven; Lisa Schwartz; and H. Gilbert Welch, "The drug facts box: providing consumers with simple tabular data on drug benefit and harm," Medical Decision Making 27 (5): 655-662.
- 2007, Kallen, Alexander, et al., "Direct-to-consumer advertisements for HIV antiretroviral medications: a progress report," Health Affairs 26 (5): 1392-1398.
- 2007, Frosch, Dominick, et al., "Creating demand for prescription drugs: a content analysis of television direct-to-consumer advertising," Annals of Family Medicine 5: 6-13.
- 2007, Davis, Joel, "Consumers' preferences for the communication of risk information in drug advertising," Health Affairs 26 (3): 863-870.
- 2007, Davis, Joel, "The effect of qualifying language on perceptions of drug appeal, drug experience, and estimates of side-effect incidence in DTC advertising," Journal of Health Communication 12 (7): 607-622.
- 2005, Kravitz, Richard, et al., "Influence of patients' requests for direct-to-consumer advertised antidepressants," JAMA 293 (16): 1995-2002.
- 2004, Woloshin, Steven; Lisa Schwartz; and H. Gilbert Welch, "The value of benefit data in direct-to-consumer drug ads," Health Affairs web exclusive.
- 2001, Woloshin, Steven, et al., "Direct-to-consumer advertisements for prescription drugs: what are Americans being sold?" Lancet 358 (9288): 1141-1146.
- 2000, Bell, Robert, et al., "The educational value of consumer-targeted prescription drug print advertising," 49 (12): 1092-1098.
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