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TV Drug Ads Face More Scrutiny

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Pharmaceutical companies are required to present a balanced and accurate picture of a drug’s benefits and risks. Yet, some critics argue that the visual pictures in television ads distort and overshadow warnings about the drugs. The issue has drawn the attention of federal regulators who plan to study the issue in the upcoming weeks. According to an announcement posted on the FDA website, the agency plans to study how 2,000 people react to the tv ads. The advocacy group Public Citizen has argued that the overwhelmingly positive and upbeat images and music often obscure the negative side effects to which potential customers need to pay attention.

The issue is public safety. Consumers should not be choosing a particular drug because of the slick marketing and promotional teases of big pharma. Rather, health professionals should be the one guiding consumers as to the drugs they should be taking.