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Postby TwistedHelix » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:37 am

By coincidence, just found this...


Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-5361
University of Georgia
Study finds most TV prescription drug ads minimize risk information

Athens, Ga. – Prescription drug ads on television first hit the airwaves just over a decade ago, but a new University of Georgia study finds that most of them still do not present a fair balance of information, especially when it comes to the risk of side effects.

A team led by Wendy Macias, associate professor in the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, analyzed a week’s worth of direct-to-consumer ads on broadcast and cable television. The found that the average 60-second ad contained less than 8 seconds (13 percent of total ad time) of side effect disclaimers, while the average 30-second ad has less than 4.4 seconds (15 percent of total ad time) of disclaimers. Most of the 15-second ads studied devoted no time at all to disclaimers.

“These ads clearly don’t devote enough time to information about risk,” said Macias, whose results appear in the November/December issue of the journal Health Communication. “Adding to the problem is that the information is often presented in a way that people aren’t likely to comprehend or even pay attention to.”

Macias and her team, which includes Kartik Pashupati at Southern Methodist University and Liza Lewis at The University of Texas at Austin, found that almost all of the ads disclosed side effects solely in a voice-over portion of the ad. Only 2.2 percent of ads had the disclosure in voice-over as well as in text form.

The 1997 FDA guidelines that allowed drug companies to greatly expand the scope of their direct-to-consumer advertising required the companies to “present a fair balance between information about effectiveness and information about risk.”

Fair balance is not defined by the FDA, so Macias created a four-tiered classification: 1.) Lawbreakers are ads that don’t mention side effects at all; 2.) bare minimums are those that list side effects but spend less than 10 percent of time on risk information; 3.) the main pack includes ads that spend more than 10 percent of time on risk information, and 4.) the proactive, safety oriented approach, which gives equal treatment to both the risks and the benefits of the drug.

The researchers found that two percent of the ads studied were clear lawbreakers, 10 percent met bare minimum requirements and 88 percent were in the main pack. The researchers analyzed commercials that aired in 2003, but Macias said current ads are similar in their content and leave much to be desired.

“Very few advertisers are really doing well enough when it comes to actually trying to educate the consumer,” she said. “The ads are presented in such a way that the consumer would have to be paying very close attention and be adept at processing the information to really understand the risks as well as the benefits.”

Proponents of direct-to-consumer ads argue that they help raise awareness of various medical conditions and their treatments. Critics argue that the ads drive up health care costs by steering consumers to costly drugs that they might not need. Still, Nielsen Media Research estimates that pharmaceutical companies spent more than $1.5 billion on direct-to-consumer television ads during the first half of 2007.

Macias said most ads could clearly do more to educate consumers, and points to recent advertisements for Johnson and Johnson’s Ortho Evra® birth control patch that give equal emphasis to the risks and benefits of the drug as an example of a more balanced approach.

“A prescription drug is something that consumers should be making a rational decision about,” Macias said. “And the more information consumers have, the better decisions they can make.”

###


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Postby Lyon » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:06 pm

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Postby cheerleader » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:10 pm

Hi Chris-

Hope you're adjusting to your diagnosis...and you're making informed decisions about your treatment.

RE: urinary issues- My 44 year old husband was dx RRMS 3/07, and one of the first symptoms he noticed was urgent bladder. He'd need to urinate immediately, but then wouldn't void completely. This is part of his MS. It's alot better now. He still has fatigue, sore legs at night, and spasms, but is stable since his first attack of incontinence, paralysis, numbness and tingling.

He chose Copaxone with his doc, because it is not an immune modulator, but a myelin decoy. She started him right after his LP diagnosis. He is also on a bunch of supplements. The major one we'd recommend is a pro-biotic. Especially if you're having bowel/stomach issues, it's good to introduce healthy bacteria into the gut. The other recommendation is a magnesium supplement- for muscle stiffness/soreness and regularity. There's alot of terrific info on this site-

I'm going to take the time to post his regimen on this site soon, since he is doing well (no relapse) and his neuro is surprised- he presented with over 20 lesions on brain and spine.

Whatever you do decide about your treatment, I wish you hope and health in the new year. Keep us posted-
best,
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Postby Punchy » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:21 pm

I think you are at your MS Clinic appointment today - how did it go?

You asked about the costs of meds - I am lucky enough to have 100% coverage, but I can tell you that the cost for a month's worth of .22 dosage Rebif syringes here (Ontario, Canada) is $1600. It works out to just under $20,000 a year 8O
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Postby coomoob » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:37 am

cheerleader wrote:Hope you're adjusting to your diagnosis...and you're making informed decisions about your treatment.


I've been doing ok and have resumed everything back to normal. I had taken Friday off and actually called my realtor and saw a couple homes that morning before I went to my Neuro appointment. I'm trying not to think about it to much. Thanks for the concern! This forum has been a great help!
_____________________________________

Punchy wrote:I think you are at your MS Clinic appointment today - how did it go?


Well...I went to see the USF Neuro folks yesterday. Overall I think I received a good (I guess) report. After doing all of the Neuro tests, some visual and balance testing he said that my reflexes are good and there are no vision issues. He reviewed my MRI's and decided that he wants to observe to see what (if anything else) happens. He said pretty much the same as my hospital Neuro said...he can't diagnose me with MS at this time. Positive MRI (although small lesions)...positive myelin/protein in the LP....but negative/low strands and quick resolving symptoms. So he does not want to start me on meds at this time, mainly because I'm young and he doesn't want to cause any possible liver damage. I'm supposed to get another MRI in 4 months and follow up with my hospital Neuro to see if there are any changes on the MRI. If there are MRI changes, another attack or any new symptoms I'm to return to the USF Clinic for medication evaluation.

Sooo....good news in that I don't have to start shots at this time....bad news (as I expected)...I probally have MS (although very mild) and have to wait for more lesions or another attack before anything can be done. :?

[Cheerleader] - I did mention the urinary issues (just seems like I have to pee a lot and have trouble starting sometimes - like your husband) but the Neuro didn't seem to think to much of it.
_________________________

Punchy wrote:You asked about the costs of meds - I am lucky enough to have 100% coverage, but I can tell you that the cost for a month's worth of .22 dosage Rebif syringes here (Ontario, Canada) is $1600. It works out to just under $20,000 a year 8O


That's ridiuclous....and scary. Thank god I don't have to start meds now. I couldn't imagine facing that without insurnace. :(
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Postby coomoob » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:53 am

What I didn't type up above....in the meantime. I'm still exhausted, still tingling (although not as much) and still have the urinary issue.

Last night I went camping with some friends (basically to eat, drink and sit around the fire). I must have went pee 80 times and had trouble starting every time. It took all I had to stay awake with everyone last night.

I'm thinking about starting up vitamins again....yea or nea?

The neuro asked if I took any (which I haven't in years) and I said no. But I may start and tell him if anything changes in the future. I HAVE to get some energy back.
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Postby coomoob » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:41 am

In celebration of not taking meds...my friends decided to book a cruise (one friend owed me money, so that's how he's paying me back). (7 day southern Caribbean if you're interested).

I'm kind of leary about travel now....thinking a future attack. Maybe I'll get insurance this time. :?
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Postby jimmylegs » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:31 pm

heya, i'd definitely consider multivitamins and multiminerals if i were you. i think somebody might be trying out magnesium to see if it sorts out the pee a bit. if it helps at all i'll relay.

definitely get travel insurance!!! i was so glad i had bought it when i got diagnosed and had to postpone my australia exchange. of course after dx you have to pay through the nose for 'pre-existing condition' insurance, but heck, it's worth it to have a nice holiday.

im curious: have you ever had a travel vaccine before or since you started testing for ms?
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Postby coomoob » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:10 pm

jimmylegs wrote:heya, i'd definitely consider multivitamins and multiminerals if i were you. i think somebody might be trying out magnesium to see if it sorts out the pee a bit. if it helps at all i'll relay.

definitely get travel insurance!!! i was so glad i had bought it when i got diagnosed and had to postpone my australia exchange. of course after dx you have to pay through the nose for 'pre-existing condition' insurance, but heck, it's worth it to have a nice holiday.

im curious: have you ever had a travel vaccine before or since you started testing for ms?


I've never bought the insurance before...but technically I'm not diagnosed with MS...I wonder what the verdict would be.

I've never had any serious travel vaccine (malaria, typhoid, yellow fever..etc). However, I do work in healthcare so I have to get extra titers occasionally (M-M-R, tetanus, Hep-B/C..etc).
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Postby jimmylegs » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:24 pm

hiya, well i would buy travel insurance dx or no dx. that way if something does happen, you're covered.

personally, the paperwork i submitted to my insurer said dx: ms, dated day before flight. and that was that. so glad i got that money back because it was well over 3,000 dollars.

might not do any harm to ask an insurer hypothetically about what constitutes "pre-existing" with them, when there is no diagnosis?
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Postby coomoob » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:24 pm

Well....after almost a month "with" MS....I have made some changes.

I have lost 10lbs just by changing my diet...I'm starting to go the gym again this week and I'm taking a multivitamin.

My main goal is to loose 30lbs by my cruise (May 11) and I'm already down 10lbs. Eventually I'd like to loose 50lbs total. Wish me luck!
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