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Inside the Drug Facts Box

Direct-to-consumer ads and package inserts for pharmaceutical drugs are chock-full of information on risk factors and side effects. But they have very little data about how well a drug works, say DMS physician-researchers Lisa Schwartz, Steven Woloshin, and H. Gilbert Welch. To help people better understand how a drug helps or harms, they developed a tool called a "drug facts box" and are working with the FDA on implementing it. They recently published a study using a sample box for the drug tamoxifen. For more on this study read "Patients deserve data about drugs."

Schwartz, Woloshin, and Welch also wrote a booklet to help people better understand health statistics and then tested it in a randomized trial. For more on this trial and the booklet see "Authors aim to bring clarity to health statistics." To test your own understanding of health statistics, take the quiz, below, which was used in the trial.

All three researchers are associated with the Center for Medicine, the Media and the Public at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; and the VA Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vt.

Steven Woloshin (left), H. Gilbert Welch, and Lisa Schwartz study how medical information is communicated to the public.


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