No End to Deceptive Marketing of Pharmaceuticals

Taken directly from Mind Hacks. More on advertising of drugs. It opens:

We’re so used to drug companies burying data, spinning their results, ghostwriting papers, ‘financially incentivising’ doctors and designing biased studies, you’d just assume that if drug advert cited a research it would back up the claim being made for the medication. According to a new study, you’d often be wrong.

Then continues with some astonishing data:

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s magazine ‘Chemistry World’ has an article on a new study of psychiatric drug ads in medical journals that found that over a third of the total claims made by drug ads are not actually supported by the studies they reference as evidence.

Taken on an advert by advert basis, the results are even more shocking:

42 out of the 53 ads (nearly 80 per cent) the researchers examined made at least one claim the team couldn’t substantiate. 27 made a claim that was not supported by the data source cited by the ad. A further 15 contained claims that couldn’t be verified by the team – usually because the ads provided no sources of data to back up their claims, or made claims that could not be verified because drug firms either failed to respond to the researchers’ requests for trial data, or refused to supply it.

The Mind Hacks take on this: “it seems they can’t even be polite enough to deceive us honestly.”

Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.

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