Congress is scrutinizing direct-to-consumer drug marketing, and Allison Bass (author of a new book on the deceptive marketing of Paxil) posted this interesting entry on her new blog. Researchers at Duke University have listed cognitive techniques drug-makers use to distract them from comprehending all the pesky negative information that the FDA requires be disclosed. For example, in an ad for the allergy drug Nasonex, a distracting animated bee appears during the rapid fire recitation of side effects. But when the benefits of Nasonex are described, the bee hovers quietly.
In the past, I have supported DTC ads (see here) because I have felt the public health benefits may outweigh the problems with biased drug information. After reading about this new study, I may have to revise my position!