There is a rapidly growing practice within the pharmaceutical industry of advertising prescription products directly to the general public through media, such as television, radio, newspapers, and popular magazines. Proponents of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs have asserted that advertising is a source of useful information for the patient. However, it is the position of the Academy that patient education regarding prescription drugs is provided best by the physician within the context of patient care and not through advertising that is designed primarily to promote the sale and consumption of a specific product. Such advertising contributes little, if anything, to the quality of health care while posing multiple problems that may be counterproductive to the provision of optimal pharmacotherapy for pediatric patients.
The Academy's opposition to direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs stems from its long tradition of advocacy for children and young people, along with a concern regarding the potential negative impact of such advertising on the health care of children and adolescents. The Academy's objection to consumer advertising of specific prescription products does not apply to general health information provided through public service announcements sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
Prescription drugs are unique in the marketplace in that they are selected for use by the physician rather than by the consumer. They are designated by law to be used within the patient-physician relationship for the protection and welfare of the patient. In choosing a therapeutic agent for a particular patient's illness, a physician takes into consideration a multitude of complex factors, including the patient's diagnosis, medical history, previous medication interolances, adverse drug reactions, possible drug interactions, chemical dependency, and the array of products that potentially may be used.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics