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Twelve years' experience with direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs in Canada: a cautionary tale

Twelve years' experience with direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs in Canada: a cautionary tale

PLoS ONE, Volume 4, Issue 5 (2009)
Journal Article
Abstract

Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is illegal in Canada as a health protection measure, but is permitted in the United States. However, in 2000, Canadian policy was changed to allow ‘reminder’ advertising of prescription drugs. This is a form of advertising that states the brand name without health claims. ‘Reminder’ advertising is prohibited in the US for drugs that have ‘black box’ warnings of serious risks. This study examines spending on DTCA in Canada from 1995 to 2006, 12 years spanning this policy shift. We ask how annual per capita spending compares to that in the US, and whether drugs with Canadian or US regulatory safety warnings are advertised to the Canadian public in reminder advertising.