Picture this: An FDA type is reclining in his Barcalounger, watching a few direct-to-consumer ads. Homework. Between bites of popcorn, the FDAer notices something strange. The rolling video in these ads shows healthy, smiling, carefree people--you can almost hear Snow White singing in the background. Almost. Because what you hear instead is a monotone voice reciting a litany of terrible side effects. Anxiety and sleeplessness, weight gain, blood clots that can be fatal, and so on.
What's a diligent agency to do, then? Mount a study. The FDA intends to show a selection of drug ads to 1,000 people over the age of 40, and then ask questions about the subjects' impression of the drug. Are any verbal warnings penetrating the fairy-tale fog induced by those happy-go-lucky images? We'll see.
- read the Wall Street Journal's take on this (sub. req.)
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