When Drugs Go OTC, Risks Get Fewer Mentions

TUESDAY, Sept. 11, 2012 (MedPage Today) — Ads for professionally prescribed medications that made the jump to over-the-counter (OTC) status were far more averse to caution about potential dangers, scientists found.

As doctor prescribed medicines, 70 percent of promotions for four medications exhibited the potential damages contrasted and just 11 percent of advertisements for a similar four medications after they ended up plainly accessible without a content, Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and partners detailed in an exploration letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Pharmaceuticals don't lose their ability for hurt in the wake of moving from behind the drug specialist's counter to before it," they composed. "Nearer consideration ought to be paid to how such medications are elevated to customers."

At the point when physician recommended drugs get over-the-counter status, oversight of medication advertisements moves from the FDA to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While the FDA requires that advertisements contain a "reasonable adjust" of dangers and advantages, the FTC approaches just for a "sensible buyer" standard of honesty that doesn't require adjusting damages and advantages, the scientists said.

To survey whether the move to over-the-counter status gets changes publicizing, Greene and associates took a gander at all print and communicate advertisements from four generally utilized medications that rolled out the improvement: loratadine (Claritin), omeprazole (Prilosec), orlistat (Alli), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

The scientists got TV and print promotions that ran two years previously and a half year after the OTC move.

They found that in the wake of going OTC, 97 percent of promotions depicted medication benefits contrasted and 83 percent of advertisements when the medications were solution as it were.

They noticed that the distinction wasn't critical for singular medications, however.

Much more emotional was the lessening in specify of potential damages — 70 percent of the advertisements for the physician endorsed drugs specified dangers; just 11 percent of OTC adaptations said those dangers.

Except for print advertisements for orlistat, the specialists included, no OTC promotions specified contraindications or antagonistic impacts.

The OTC medications were likewise more averse to specify their nonexclusive names, which are "key instruments for purchasers looking for free data on dangers, advantages, and costs," they composed.

Greene and partners cautioned that these four items may not be illustrative of all remedy or over-the-counter medications, and noticed that their examination additionally overlooked on the web and radio advertisements.

They likewise forewarned that the FDA's immediate to-customer promoting directions "don't really bring about adjusted introductions of dangers and benefits, and these rules are known to be conflictingly upheld."

In any case, they inferred that their discoveries demonstrate changes in publicizing with over-the-counter status mean patients get "even less data for settling on an educated choice, when [they] must have more information of whether their meds' potential advantages are justified regardless of their dangers and expenses."

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