January 9th, 2008

Drug Side Effects Minimized in Commercials, Study Found

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A University study found most television prescription drug advertisements do not present a fair balance of information, especially when it comes to the risk of side effects.

Wendy Macias, associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, led a team in analyzing the television advertisements.

The group found the average 60-second advertisement spent less than 13 percent of its time discussing the drugs’ side effects. The average 30-second advertisement spent less than 15 percent of the advertisement.

Macias’ team discovered almost all ads disclosed effects by voice-over.

The 1997 FDA guidelines that allowed drug companies to greatly expand the scope of their advertising required the companies to “present a fair balance between information about effectiveness and information about risk.”


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