For 16 hours a year (nine times a day for the average viewer) friendly voices come through the TV promising that a brand-name medicine can cure what ails you.
That's the estimated onslaught of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising on U.S. television. (In Canada, ads can mention either the brand or the indication, but not both.)
Now a new report sounds a consumer alert: While 43 percent of Rx ad claims are objectively true (for nonprescription medicines it was only 23 percent), 55 percent are potentially misleading and 2 percent are false.
So how can you get the benefits you need from medications without falling for the hype?
Here are three tips:
1. When drug ads come on TV, be skeptical. Ask yourself why it is always rugged men driving big trucks who have ED? And why is it always dreamy-eyed women who look like they could spin their own wool who are fighting depression? If you take a second look, you'll be able to differentiate between the pitch and the substance.
2. Before you ask your doc for a medication you've seen on TV, or whenever you get a new prescription, read the prescribing information (it's on the website and in the package). You'll discover usage; warning and precautions; info on clinical studies; and much more.
3. Then ask your doctor how the med will affect YOU; what's the goal and the risk of taking it; and are there alternative medications that can achieve the same result?
Together, make an informed decision about what meds you take.
© 2013 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate