The U.S. Food & Drug Administration's final guidelines for broadcast direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads are awaiting "clearance" and should be out this fall, said Nancy Ostrove, branch chief of the FDA's division of drug marketing, advertising and communications. The new guidelines have been eagerly anticipated in the industry for some time, and a significant change could slow the current DTC ad boom. Two years ago this month, the FDA issued draft guidelines that loosened restrictions on broadcast DTC ads, fueling the boom. Ms. Ostrove on Aug. 3 attended a presentation in New York of an annual study of consumer reaction to DTC ads conducted by Prevention magazine. That study showed 31% of respondents talked with their doctor about an advertised drug, while 84% who asked a doctor for a prescription received one. The study also showed DTC ads assist with patient compliance, said Ed Slaughter, research director for Prevention publisher Rodale Press. Results showed 46% of respondents felt better about taking their medicine after seeing it advertised, while 31% said advertising makes them more likely to take their medicine. The study was done through telephone interviews with 1,205 people over age 18.
Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.