The FDA wants to figure out DTC ad claims' effect on consumers
- The FDA is running two studies to determine whether patients confuse consumer ad claims with actual effectiveness.
- The FDA has pointed out that the objective quality of prescription drugs is not easily obtained from promotional claims in DTC ads. This makes patients rely on extrinsic clues to assess efficacy, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
- According to available research, providing consumers with actual efficacy information helps them better understand the drug in more concrete terms and facilitates better decision-making.
In DTC advertising one of the most common headlines is "The #1 xyz drug Prescribed by Doctors." While those headlines may technically be true, they don't necessarily reflect efficacy. A drug may be prescribed for any number of reasons beyond efficacy, including really effective marketing efforts, perceptions of better price and value, issues related to doctor preference and safety concerns. Therefore, the FDA is planning to survey patients to find out how extrinsic cues, such as headlines, influence or sway a patient.
Regardless of the results, it is widely understood that patients need exposure and access to balanced efficacy and safety data to make the best decisions for them. The goal of these studies is to gain the insight needed to help them do that.