Do ads make you feel better?

June 23, 2008
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Weâ??re increasingly bombarded with ads for health care products ranging from drugs for osteoporosis and restless leg syndrome to knee replacements.

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?
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  • Patients demand as much information as possible. Direct to consumer advertising is one way that information is delivered to patients, in addition to the passive information made available through the internet. Health.com, Google health, WebMD - the resources available for self diagnosis and research grow each year. Yet with so much information concerning quality, cost, and efficacy (some of it conflicting), the patient will likely become overwhelmed, or turned away.

    At the end of the day, medical decisions should be made by medical professionals. Read the fine print on those advertisements, they all say consult a physician. In this age of information overload, the doctor is your trusted partner in health.
  • Drug cmopanies running commercials on TV adds to the cost of prescription medicine. Duh.

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