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TV drug ads frequently make misleading claims according to study

Six times out to ten, you’re getting misleading information from drug advertisements broadcast on television, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. While 1 in 10 claims turned out to be totally false, 6 in 10 “left out important information, exaggerated information, provided opinions, or made meaningless associations with lifestyles” according to the report.
Researchers evaluated 168 advertisements ranging from 1968 to the present, and focused on ads that regularly air during the 6:30 evening news time slot. This chart from the full text of the report shows how researchers determined the major claims made in each ad, and whether or not those claims were backed up by evidence.

Debates over the value of public advertisements for prescription drugs have carried on since the FDA first allowed the practice in 1997. Critics, argue that ads don’t sell cures, they “sell disease,” leading to over prescriptions and unnecessary treatments. The Drug industry spends nearly $5 billion on ads annually.

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