Published Online: Sunday, January 1, 2006

While the FDA takes a fresh look at the impact of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs, manufacturers of prescription medicines say the evidence supporting the value of these ads is clear-cut. "There is no doubt that DTC advertising is an invaluable communications tool that empowers millions of Americans to talk to health care professionals about their medical conditions," Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and Chief Executive Officer Billy Tauzin said.

Tauzin, a former congressman actively involved in health care issues, argued that consumer ads for prescription products give physicians an opportunity to discuss the risks and benefits of courses of treatments—a dialogue that produces more informed patients.

"The educational value of DTC advertising is particularly important to address underdiagnosis and undertreatment of major medical conditions such as asthma, cerebral vascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension," he said.

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