A sweeping analysis of medical marketing in the U.S. — from drug promotions aimed at consumers and physicians to disease awareness campaigns, hospital services, and laboratory testing — found a 69 percent increase, to $29.9 billion, over a recent 20-year period. But despite policies designed to limit industry influence over the health care system, there appeared to be insufficient regulatory oversight.
The fastest rise in industry marketing was spent on direct-to-consumer ads, which increased from $2.1 billion, or 12 percent, of all marketing expenditures in 1997, to $9.6 billion, or 32 percent of total spending in 2016, according to the analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association. During that period, the number of times TV commercials aired for medicines jumped from 663,000 to 4.6 million.
This is the big secret that no one is investigating. Health outcomes are worse than they were before this kind of deceptive marketing was allowed. Prior to 1996 this kind of marketing was Illegal. Now that there is even less regualtion, it has gotten worse. Industry Insiders at the FDA, and the FTC refuse to investigate false claims, misnformation and outright lies.
“Baruch dayan ha’emet,” Dr. Lisa Schwartz – this study is a fitting epitaph.
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