FDA to examine pleasing TV ads vs. warning messages about drugs

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration announced today that they plan on investigating as to whether TV drug ads distract consumers from warnings about the drugs’ risks, according to the Associated Press. The announcement was made in response to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that the agency has declined in its drug ad enforcement.

The investigation will involve the FDA studying how 2,000 people react to television drug ads to determine if the people experience a positive impression despite audio warnings of side effects. Drug companies are required to legally present the benefits and risks of a drug in promotions.

According to the Journal, the FDA sent only 21 citations to drug companies last year for problems with their ads as compared to 142 in 1997.

The FDA will also be looking into how text on the screen can divert focus away from audio warnings, for example when the ad shows the company’s website.

The House of Representatives last month rejected the proposal of having drug companies paying the salaries of FDA ad reviewers stating that it creates a conflict of interest.

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