PHYSICIANS ARE IGNORING DTC DRUG ADS, STUDY CONCLUDES

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The pharmaceutical industry's heavy spending on direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising may not be paying off by increasing sales for the promoted products, reported researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Although the study found that the television ads made patients more aware of medications such as Pfizer's Celebrex (celecoxib) and Merck's withdrawn drug Vioxx (rofecoxib), the researchers uncovered little evidence that physicians actually were prescribing more of the advertised drugs. The researchers called that finding good news, noting that it suggests that the effects of DTC advertising may not be as "pernicious" as many critics feared.