Zimmer went over the heads of doctors when it advertised its knee replacements designed specifically for women, and the ads appear to be working, because sales are up.
Linda Heitzman, who directs Deloitte Consultingâ??s life science practice in Indianapolis, has mixed feelings about ads directed at patients.
Advertising is arming consumers with more information when they speak with physicians, which is a good thing, Heitzman says.
Yet ads also can cause overuse of medications. Some people took the arthritis medication Vioxx longer than intended, and had heart attacks and strokes as a result, she notes.
Health advertising is here to stay because consumers who are getting more control over their health care want as much information as they can find, Heitzman says.
â??Weâ??re not going to turn back the clock on direct-to-consumer advertising,â?? she says.
What do you think?