March 8th, 2011

JAMA Article: Global Public Health Impacts of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

PR Newswire

In a recent Commentary published in the February 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA,) Dr. Bryan A. Liang, Shapiro Distinguished Professor of Health Law & Executive Director, Institute of Health Law Studies (IHLS), California Western School of Law (CWSL); and Mr. Tim Mackey, Senior Research Associate at IHLS, address the growing problem of unregulated Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) of drugs through social media.

DTCA in pharmaceutical marketing has been globalized through the use of digital technology such as the Internet, product websites, online ads, and more recently through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. DTCA is only allowed in the United States and New Zealand, and has been associated with patient safety issues, increased costs, and other public health concerns. Dr. Liang and Mr. Mackey find that these potential risks are amplified by digital technologies. 

But further, Liang and Mackey also note that not only are global proscriptions against DTCA being potentially violated through the use of the Internet, but also discovered that rogue online pharmacies are also using social media tools to illegally sell drugs without a prescription. They call for regulatory action including filtering software and public private-partnerships to address this key public health concern.

The Commentary is entitled, “Direct to Consumer Advertising with Interactive Internet Media: Global Regulation and Public Health Issues.” JAMA is one of the world’s leading journals in medicine and health policy.

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