70% of drugs advertised on TV are of “low therapeutic value,” study finds

70% of drugs advertised on TV are of “low therapeutic value,” study finds

70% of medication marketed on TV are of “low therapeutic worth,” research finds

Some new medicine include spectacular security and efficacy information. For others, nicely, there are TV commercials.

Simply over 70% of pharmaceuticals marketed on TV have been categorised as “low therapeutic worth,” that means they provide little profit over medicine already available on the market, in keeping with a brand new research. The research, revealed in JAMA Open Community, aligns with longstanding skepticism that closely promoted medicine have excessive therapeutic worth.

“One rationalization could possibly be that medicine with substantial therapeutic worth are prone to be acknowledged and prescribed with out promoting, so producers have extra incentive to advertise medicine of lesser worth,” stated the authors, who embrace researchers from Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth.

The US is considered one of solely two international locations that enables direct-to-drug (DTC) ads, equivalent to tv commercials. (The opposite is New Zealand.) Medical doctors, medical associations and client advocates have lengthy opposed this uncommon apply. In 2006, client advocacy group Public Citizen summed up the DTC advert as “nothing lower than an finish to the doctor-patient relationship – an try to show sufferers into brokers of pharmaceutical firms as they stress on medical doctors for medicine they could not want.”

In 2015, the American Medical Affiliation known as for a complete ban on DTC advertisements for pharmaceuticals and medical units. AMA members stated the ads “spurred demand for costly therapies regardless of the scientific effectiveness of inexpensive alternate options”.

However the DTC drug advertisements continued, fueled by billions of {dollars} from the pharmaceutical trade.

Profit not added

For the brand new research, researchers led by Aaron Kesselheim, who heads Harvard’s Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Regulation (PORTAL), seemed on the month-to-month lists of probably the most marketed medicine on tv in the USA between 2015 and 2021.

Additionally they researched the therapeutic worth rankings of those medicine from impartial well being score businesses in Canada, France and Germany. Worth rankings had been based mostly on the medicine’ therapeutic profit, security profile, and energy of proof, in comparison with present medicine. Any drug rated “reasonable” or larger was categorized as a “excessive worth” drug for the research. For medicine with a number of rankings, the research authors used probably the most favorable score, which the authors consider could overestimate the proportion of extra helpful medicine.

Of probably the most marketed medicine, 73 had not less than one worth score. Collectively, pharmaceutical firms spent $22.3 billion promoting these 73 medicine between 2015 and 2021. Even with beneficiant rankings, 53 of the 73 medicine (about 73%) had been categorised as low-benefit. Collectively, these low-profit medicine accounted for $15.9 billion in advert spend. The highest three low-benefit medicine by greenback quantity had been dulaglutide (sort 2 diabetes), varenicline (smoking cessation), and tofacitinib (rheumatoid arthritis).

The outlook for change is bleak, the authors observe. “Policymakers and regulators may take into account limiting direct-to-consumer promoting to medicine of excessive therapeutic or public well being worth or requiring standardized disclosure of comparative efficacy and security information,” Kesselheim and colleagues concluded. , “however coverage modifications would possible require trade cooperation or face a constitutional problem.”


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