Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some complain that ads work

Si Valley paper columnist Chris O'Brien writes:
There is plenty of research that demonstrates how these sales tactics have contributed to the rising cost of health care, with little evident impact on improving patients' health. A 2006 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office found that sales of a drug increased $2 for every $1 spent on advertising. A 2004 survey by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that 65 percent of physicians felt consumer ads confused patients about the risks and benefits of such drugs, while 75 percent felt the ads led "patients to think that the drug works better than it does." ...

Those online ad dollars became even more elusive after the FDA took a bold step to protect consumers. The agency sent letters to 14 drug companies saying their search-based ads had to include relevant risk information or come down. ...

Their message to Google and Yahoo should be a simple one: Just say no to expanding online drug ads.
Yes, of course the ads induce a favorable opinion towards the product. That's the whole idea! The same is true about ads for cars, beer, fast food, or anything else.

For physicians, "confused patients" is a code phrase for people who do their own research to make their own medical decisions. Many physicians would much rather have dumb patients who shut up and do what they are told.

Google makes all its money on ads, and is very unlikely to give up on drug ads.

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