70% of drugs advertised on TV are of “low therapeutic value,” study finds
Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2023-01-17
(credit: Photo illustration includes an image by Wynand Delport.)
Some new drugs sell themselves with impressive safety and efficacy data. For others, well, there are television commercials.
According to a new study, a little over 70 percent of prescription drugs advertised on television were rated as "low therapeutic value," meaning they offer little benefit compared with drugs already on the market. The study, appearing in JAMA Open Network, aligns with longstanding skepticism that heavily promoted drugs have high therapeutic value.
"One explanation might be that drugs with substantial therapeutic value are likely to be recognized and prescribed without advertising, so manufacturers have greater incentive to promote drugs of lesser value," said the authors, which include researchers at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth.