Study: Consumers ignore lengthy drug safety info

A recent study by ORC Guideline found that many consumers ignore the lengthy risk disclosures in print and TV ads. According to the 1,045 people surveyed, 41 percent tuned out drug safety information on TV spots, while half ignored the finer points in print ads. Consumers 55 and older were most likely to skip over the drug safety information.

Morris Whitcup, Ph.D. Chief Research Officer at ORC Guideline, thinks consumers are simply overwhelmed by the amount of information available on their medications; many of the people surveyed indicated that they would prefer a condensed version of the safety disclosures with links to full details.  "As consumers utilize a wide variety of sources to learn about prescription medications, it may not be optimal for the FDA to require that pharmaceutical companies include the same details in each of the channels they use to communicate information about their prescription drug products," he noted.

Those surveyed said that when it comes to online advertising, they'd most like to see risk information disclosed through links on independent websites like WebMD (32 percent), or via a condensed version of risk disclosures available a click away (27 percent). They were less interested in disclosure on a pharma company's brand website, or on a government site. The study findings could impact how the FDA asks companies to provide drug safety information.

- here's the report