Fair Balance and Adequate Provision in Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Online Banner Advertisements: A Content Analysis.
ABSTRACT: The current direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) guidelines were developed with print, television, and radio media in mind, and there are no specific guidelines for online banner advertisements.This study evaluates how well Internet banner ads comply with existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for DTCA in other media.A content analysis was performed of 68 banner advertisements. A coding sheet was developed based on (1) FDA guidance documents for consumer-directed prescription drug advertisements and (2) previous DTCA content analyses. Specifically, the presence of a brief summary detailing the drug's risks and side effects or of a "major statement" identifying the drug's major risks, and the number and type of provisions made available to consumers for comprehensive information about the drug were coded. In addition, the criterion of "fair balance," the FDA's requirement that prescription drug ads balance information relating to the drug's risks with information relating to its benefits, was measured by numbering the benefit and risk facts identified in the ads and by examining the presentation of risk and benefit information.Every ad in the sample included a brief summary of risk information and at least one form of adequate provision as required by the FDA for broadcast ads that do not give audiences a brief summary of a drug's risks. No ads included a major statement. There were approximately 7.18 risk facts for every benefit fact. Most of the risks (98.85%, 1292/1307) were presented in the scroll portion of the ad, whereas most of the benefits (66.5%, 121/182) were presented in the main part of the ad. Out of 1307 risk facts, 1292 were qualitative and 15 were quantitative. Out of 182 benefit facts, 181 were qualitative and 1 was quantitative. The majority of ads showed neutral images during the disclosure of benefit and risk facts. Only 9% (6/68) of the ads displayed positive images and none displayed negative images when presenting risks facts. When benefit facts were being presented, 7% (5/68) showed only positive images. No ads showed negative images when the benefit facts were being presented.In the face of ambiguous regulatory guidelines for online banner promotion, drug companies appear to make an attempt to adapt to regulatory guidelines designed for traditional media. However, banner ads use various techniques of presentation to present the advertised drug in the best possible light. The FDA should formalize requirements that drug companies provide a brief summary and include multiple forms of adequate provision in banner ads.
Project description:Televised direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) for prescription drugs is controversial, especially for tobacco cessation products such as varenicline, given safety concerns that arose only after its market approval. We aim to quantify the extent to which DTCA influenced varenicline use.We linked monthly DTCA television ratings with monthly prescription data from IMS Health's National Prescription Audit across top 75 media markets in 2006-2009. We used Poisson models with Generalized Estimating Equations to analyze effects of exposures to DTCA for both varenicline and nicotine replacement therapies on rate of dispensed varenicline prescriptions among smokers, controlling for population characteristics and varenicline-related events.Varenicline prescriptions increased dramatically following DTCA launch and declined sharply after safety risks were publicized and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory. DTCA had significant impact on new prescription dispensing in the subsequent month: before the FDA advisory, one additional exposure to varenicline DTCA was associated with a 1.8% (rate ratio [RR] = 1.018 [1.015-1.021]) higher rate of new prescriptions; no effect was observed after the advisory (RR = 1.000 [0.997-1.003]). Prior to the advisory, cross-product effects of nicotine replacement therapy advertising on varenicline prescribing were negligible (RR = 1.002 [0.999-1.004]); after the advisory, effects were positive (RR = 1.015 [1.012-1.019]).DTCA for varenicline had a significant impact on varenicline prescribing when the drug's safety profile was not well characterized, supporting arguments to limit DTCA for newly approved products whose real-world safety is unclear.We examined the fluctuations in varenicline use in association with DTCA for varenicline and other tobacco cessation aids. To our knowledge this is the first study to quantify the effects of televised DTCA for varenicline and other tobacco cessation aids on varenicline prescription dispensing. We believe that understanding these relationships is critical for formulating effective public health policy and interventions.
Project description:Background. Previous research found that adding a single piece of quantitative information about prescription drug benefits to direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads helps consumers understand how well the drug works. However, drug information often includes quantitative information on multiple benefit outcomes and risks. Thus, we examined whether consumer understanding was similarly improved when DTC television ads include varying amounts of quantitative information. Methods. We randomly assigned participants (945 Internet panelists ? 60 years old) to view 1 of 9 fictitious prescription drug television ads that varied the presentation of quantitative information for benefits (none, single outcome, 2 outcomes) and risks (none, 1 risk category, 3 risk categories) and then measured gist and verbatim recall/estimation and drug perceptions. Results. Adding a single benefit outcome and a single risk category replicated past results. Compared with an ad containing no quantitative information, presenting 2 benefit outcomes and multiple risk categories increased gist and verbatim recall and affected drug perceptions. Compared with presenting a single benefit outcome, presenting 2 benefit outcomes increased verbatim recall for the second outcome but decreased verbatim recall for the first outcome. Likewise, compared with presenting a single risk category, presenting multiple risk categories increased gist and verbatim recall for the multiple risk categories but decreased gist recall for a concept more closely associated with the single risk category. Adding multiple risk categories decreased risk perceptions even more than did the single risk category. Limitations. This study may have limited generalizability because it examined an ad for only 1 medical condition. Conclusions. There are tradeoffs to adding multiple quantitative benefit outcomes in DTC ads. However, presenting multiple quantitative risk categories helps consumers better understand a drug's risks.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements for prescription drugs in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Off-label promotion, or the advertisement of a drug for an indication not approved by the FDA, is prohibited. Our objective was to examine the presence of off-label promotion in broadcast DTC ads and to assess their adherence to FDA guidelines mandating fair balance in presentation of risks and benefits and prohibiting misleading advertisement claims. METHODS:All English-language broadcast DTC ads for prescription drugs that aired in the United States from January 2015 to July 2016 were obtained from AdPharm, an online collection of healthcare advertisements. Ad length was measured and adherence to FDA guidelines was assessed for several categories: key regulatory items, indicators of false or misleading ads, and indicators of fair balance in presentation of risks and benefits. RESULTS:Our sample included 97 unique DTC ads, representing 60 unique drugs and 67 unique drug-indication combinations. No ads described drug risks quantitatively, whereas drug efficacy was presented quantitatively in 25 (26%) ads. Thirteen (13%) ads, all for diabetes medications, suggested off-label uses for weight loss and blood pressure reduction. The most commonly advertised drugs were indicated for the treatment of inflammatory conditions (n = 12; 18%), diabetes or diabetic neuropathy (n = 11; 16%), bowel or bladder dysfunction (n = 6; 9%), and infections or allergic reaction (n = 6; 9%). More than three-quarters (n = 51; 76%) advertised drugs to treat chronic conditions. CONCLUSIONS:Few broadcast DTC ads were fully compliant with FDA guidelines. The overall quality of information provided in ads was low, and suggestions of off-label promotion were common for diabetes medications. The impact of current DTC ads and off-label marketing on patient and prescriber decisions merits further scrutiny.
Project description:BACKGROUND:US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations state that any prescription drug promotion that presents drug benefits to consumers must also disclose certain information about the drug's risks in a similar manner. Nearly three-quarters of all US mobile phone subscribers use a smartphone, and over half report receiving mobile advertisements on their device. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this project was to investigate how prescription drugs are being promoted to consumers using mobile technologies. We were particularly interested in the presentation of drug benefits and risks, with regard to presence, placement, and prominence. METHODS:We analyzed a sample of 51 mobile promotional communications and their associated linked landing pages. We assessed the content and format of the mobile communications and landing pages with regard to presentation of drug benefits and risks. RESULTS:Of the 51 mobile communications we coded, 41% (21/51) were product claim communications (includes the drug name, benefits, and risks), 22% (11/51) were reminder communications (includes drug name only), and 37% (19/51) were help-seeking communications (includes information about the medical condition but not the drug name). Some of the product claim communications (5/21, 24%) required scrolling to see all the benefit information; in contrast, 95% (20/21) required scrolling to see all the risk information. Of the 19 product claim communications that presented both benefits and risks, 95% (18/19) presented benefits before risks and 47% (9/19) used a bigger font for benefits than for risks. Most mobile communications (35/51, 69%) linked to branded drug websites with both benefits and risks, 25% (13/51) linked to a landing page with benefits but no visible risks, and 6% (3/51) linked to a landing page with risks but no visible benefits. Few landing pages (4/51, 8%) required scrolling to see all the benefit information; in contrast, 51% (26/51) required scrolling to see all the risk information. Of the 35 landing pages with both benefit and risk information, 71% (25/35) presented benefits before risks and 51% (18/35) used a bigger font for benefits than for risks. CONCLUSIONS:These results indicate that, while risks and benefits are both represented in mobile communications and their associated landing pages, they are not equally prominent and accessible. This has implications for compliance with FDA fair balance regulations.
Project description:PURPOSE:Misperceptions of how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates prescription drugs may affect how consumers assess the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs. The study objective was to survey the public on their knowledge of FDA oversight regarding prescription drug approval and advertising. METHODS:In 2017, we conducted a nationally representative mail-push-to-web survey with 1,744 US adults. RESULTS:Although most respondents (86%) knew that FDA approves prescription drugs, we found misperceptions about what that approval means. In addition, few respondents understood FDA oversight of prescription drug advertising, with approximately half of respondents reporting that they did not know whether FDA approved these ads or components of the ads, and several mis-reporting that FDA approves these ads (31%) or components of the ads (22%-41%). CONCLUSIONS:Enhanced collaboration and communication with the public by key stakeholders in this space could increase public understanding of the roles and responsibilities of FDA.
Project description:Smoking Cessation Treatment (SCT) is a policy that has to be promoted for health economics, and expectations for the success of treatments with varenicline (VAR) are large. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a warning on VAR-induced depression and suicide. In the present study, utilizing the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), we searched for antidepressants (ADs) used during SCT that cause fewer suicide-related events (SRE) (Study 1). We also investigated whether VAR concomitantly administered with ADs increases the risk of SRE (Study 2). In addition, we investigated whether the use of VAR alone is a latent risk factor of SRE. The backgrounds of cases with and without SRE were matched using the Propensity Score. In Study 1, the highest integrated Reporting Odds Ratio (iROR) was noted in concomitantly administered mirtazapine (iROR 6.98; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.57-30.99), while the lowest ratio was noted in concomitantly administered amitriptyline (iROR 0.59; iROR95%CI 0.23-1.50). Study 2 clarified that SCT increases the risk of SRE in AD-treated cases (iROR 8.02; iROR95%CI 5.47-11.76; not significance). Of ADs concomitantly used during SCT with VAR, amitriptyline and mirtazapine showed the lowest and highest risks, respectively (Study 1). It was clarified that concomitant use of VAR in the treatment of depression with ADs increased the risk of SRE (Study 2). The results of Studies 1 and 2 suggested that the use of VAR alone is a latent risk factor inducing suicide.
Project description:The value of direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is widely debated, as is the effect of DTCA on prescription sales and health care utilization.We examined the association between DTCA intensity for statin medications and prescription sales and cholesterol-related health care utilization.We conducted an ecological study for 75 designated market areas from 2005 to 2009 in the United States using linked data regarding televised DTCA volume, non-DTCA marketing and promotion, retail, mail order and long-term care prescription drug sales, prescription drug and ambulatory care health care utilization, and contextual factors such as health care density and socioeconomic status. Main outcomes and measures were volume of sales, number of dispensed prescriptions, and high cholesterol-related outpatient visits. Analyses were conducted in 2016.The intensity of rosuvastatin and atorvastatin ad exposures per household varied substantially across designated market areas. After adjustment for socioeconomic, demographic, and clinical characteristics, each 100-unit increase in advertisement viewership was associated with a 2.22% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.30%-4.19%] increase in statin sales. Similar patterns were observed between DTCA and statin dispensing among the commercially insured. DTCA was associated with increases in high cholesterol-related outpatient visits among adults 18-45 years of age (3.15% increase in visits per 100-unit increase in viewership, 95% CI, 0.98%-5.37%) but not among those 46-65 years of age (0.51%, 95% CI, -1.49% to 2.55%).DTCA for statins is associated with increases in statin utilization and hyperlipidemia-related outpatient visits, especially for young adults.
Project description:Drug regulators around the world make decisions about drug approvability based on qualitative benefit-risk analysis. In this work, a quantitative benefit-risk analysis approach captures regulatory decision-making about new drugs to treat multiple myeloma (MM). MM assessments have been based on endpoints such as time to progression (TTP), progression-free survival (PFS), and objective response rate (ORR) which are different than benefit-risk analysis based on overall survival (OS). Twenty-three FDA decisions on MM drugs submitted to FDA between 2003 and 2016 were identified and analyzed. The benefits and risks were quantified relative to comparators (typically the control arm of the clinical trial) to estimate whether the median benefit-risk was positive or negative. A sensitivity analysis was demonstrated using ixazomib to explore the magnitude of uncertainty. FDA approval decision outcomes were consistent and logical using this benefit-risk framework.
Project description:The boxed warning (also known as 'black box warning [BBW]') is one of the strongest drug safety actions that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) can implement, and often warns of serious risks. The objective of this study was to comprehensively characterize BBWs issued for drugs after FDA approval.We identified all post-marketing BBWs from January 2008 through June 2015 listed on FDA's MedWatch and Drug Safety Communications websites. We used each drug's prescribing information to classify its BBW as new, major update to a preexisting BBW, or minor update. We then characterized these BBWs with respect to pre-specified BBW-specific and drug-specific features.There were 111 BBWs issued to drugs on the US market, of which 29% (n = 32) were new BBWs, 32% (n = 35) were major updates, and 40% (n = 44) were minor updates. New BBWs and major updates were most commonly issued for death (51%) and cardiovascular risk (27%). The new BBWs and major updates impacted 200 drug formulations over the study period, of which 64% were expected to be used chronically and 58% had available alternatives without a BBW.New BBWs and incremental updates to existing BBWs are frequently added to drug labels after regulatory approval.
Project description:Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs can be both beneficial and harmful to healthcare consumers. Therefore, DTCA for prescription drugs is a topic that should be considered crucially, at this point, when the interests of patients as well as pharmaceutical companies in DTCA of prescription drugs are growing in South Korea. The goals of this study were to investigate Korean college students' perceptions and attitudes about DTCA of prescription drugs through a survey as well as to analyze data according to their college majors in order to identify differences in their perceptions and attitudes about prescription drug DTCAs as future health care professionals and consumers, respectively. A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was conducted between September and November 2015. Participants were recruited from Chosun University in Gwangju, South Korea. Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Chosun University Institutional Review Board. Of 1,040 questionnaires initially distributed, 774 were collected, and 742 were included in the analysis. The results of this study indicated that most students who had participated in the survey did not have sufficient knowledge of DTCA for prescription drugs. Approximately, 17% reported being cognizant of DTCA for prescription drugs. More healthcare students (24.6%) knew this term than non-healthcare students did (6.3%). In this study, most of the students were likely to feel that healthcare professionals (e.g., doctors and pharmacists) had the responsibility of delivering information about prescription drugs to patients, and that all prescription drugs DTCA, if it were permitted, had to be pre-approved by the Korean government. The results of this study indicated that DTCA for prescription drugs had to be permitted under the condition of pre-approval of the DTCA contents by the Korean government, and prescription drugs should not be advertised through the Internet. It is recommended that the Korean government cautiously examine whether DTCA of prescription drugs should be permitted, after considering the current marketing strategies of pharmaceutical companies on the Internet and the effects of online electronic-DTCA on Korean consumers.