Article in NEJM on Direct-To-Consumer Advertising

February 14, 2002 

Article by Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D., Director, Health Research Group
Direct-To-Consumer Advertising - Education or Emotion Promotion?
New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) 2002;346:524-526. 

This article is available to NEJM subscribers on their website www.nejm.com.

SUMMARY

During the past two decades, there has been an irreversible change in the nature of the doctor-patient relationship. Patients are seeking much more medical information and are actively participating in decisions affecting their health. Intruding into this trend has been the rise of direct-to-consumer promotion, which, in its initial thrust, bypasses primary care doctors and other physicians. Although increased access by patients to accurate, objective information about tests to diagnose and drugs to treat illnesses is an important advance, confusion arises when commercially driven promotional information is represented as educational.