10 Things Drug Companies Won't SayAPRIL 13, 2010
Brian L. Strom, MD, chair of the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, comments in an article on SmartMoney.com about an insiders view to drug companies, updated and adapted from the book 1,001 Things They Won't Tell You: An Insider's Guide to Spending, Saving, and Living Wisely. Strom is quoted in item 2 on the list, "Hype is our favorite medicine." Choosing a medication shouldn't be like choosing Pepsi over Coke. But that's very much what's happening, thanks to drug companies and their ad agencies, according to the article. Blame it on the Food and Drug Administration. In the late 1990s, the agency's decision to liberalize drug advertising allowed direct-to-consumer, or DTC, campaigns, and pharmaceutical ad budgets skyrocketed. From 1996 to 2005, spending on DTC campaigns increased 330 percent, according to a 2007 study in The New England Journal of Medicine. "It's horrendous," says Strom. "It's directly in conflict with proper therapeutics. But the manufacturers use patients as arms of their marketing departments." Strom says the drugs advertised are exactly the ones patients should not use. "If you needed them, I would have given them to you already," he says.