June 14, 2007
Ads & Patient Care
Various folks (Pharmalot is the most measured, then there's also TortDeform with my comment, and Greedy Trial Lawyer) have noted a Lilly-funded study indicating that advertising can scare folks off of their medicine. A year ago or so, I noted Overlawyered's citation to an earlier study (also noted by the main story this time around).
Both studies are (no surprise) funded by interested parties - Lilly in the current study's case, the Chamber of Commerce in the previous one. But the results seem pretty reasonable to me, and the concern raised here seems legitimate:
'People see these ads and they think that they're bad for them, so they quit taking them,' said Teri Breister, executive director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Mississippi. 'But these patients' lives have come apart again. Every time they stop taking their medications, the episodes become worse.'
The more responsible lawyer ads tell viewers not to change meds unless directed by their physician; many, however, do not. Given the massive problems with compliance on all medications (not just psychiatric), it's worth considering how the ads might shift the balance.
(Oh, and as usual, I do a little bit of work for pharma companies, none in the psychiatric arena.)
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