Four out of five ads in medical journals targeting doctors fail to follow FDA guidelines. Over half fail to quantify the risks. Dr. Deborah Korenstein, lead author of a recent study and Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine states:
Marketing research has consistently shown that journal advertising is the most profitable form of drug marketing, with an estimated return on investment of five dollars for every dollar spent. . . the current system is not in the best interest of the health of the public.
Drug companies know that the FDA does not have the resources to enforce its advertising "guidelines." In fact, the FDA has asked doctors for help, launching a "Bad Ads" campaign that urges doctors to take it upon themselves to report the drug companies’ bad ads to the FDA. As if, doctors have more time and resources than the FDA? And absent independent research, how will the doctors know the ad is bad?
Without enforcement, the drug companies will continue to violate the rules; doctors will not have the relevant information needed for safe prescribing practices and the public will be suffer avoidable harms. Doctors, as well as the public, need to be reminded not to be swayed by flashy ads and to conduct independent investigation about a drugs safety and efficacy.