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October 2, 2001

FDA Plans Probe of Prescription Drug Direct Marketing


 (SafetyAlerts) -  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to launch a major probe into the multibillion-dollar direct marketing of prescription medications to consumers.
The probe, set to begin early year, will seek to determine the accuracy of the advertising claims about prescription medications marketed to consumers through direct mail, over the Internet and through direct response radio, television and print ads.

The probe will also explore whether the government needs to control the practice, also known as direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug marketing, through legislation.

The FDA plans to kick off its probe with a random nationwide telephone survey of 775 consumers and 500 doctors, asking them for their views on the potential benefits and pitfalls of DTC prescription drug marketing.

Respondents will also be asked how they learned about the medication and if they read or understood all of the advertising claims. While consumers will be asked if they discussed having the prescriptions filled through a direct marketer, doctors will be asked to give their views on the subject.

In recent years directly marketed prescription drugs has grown to a multibillion dollar industry, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which has overlapping jurisdiction with the FDA over the advertising, labeling and promotion of foods, over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics and medical devices.

The FTC staff said in a recent report that in 1999, the last year for which figures are available, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $1.13 billion marketing prescription medications through direct response television ads alone. The report did not indicate how much money was spent on direct response radio and print ads or how much money was spent on direct mail solicitations.

Source: DIRECT Newsline, Paul M. Alberta

Selected Recent Recalls

Health Professional:

Did you know?
During 2000 there were over
1050 products recalled in the United
States for safety reasons!

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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.