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Drug advertisers face scrutiny after potentially breaking FDA rules

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 30 November 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:1262
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. Nebraska

    A pair of television advertisements for Merck's anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib (Vioxx) are being examined by the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether they violate current guidelines for direct to consumer drug advertising.

    In 1985 the FDA reversed its long standing policy of prohibiting direct to consumer drug advertising, and in August 1997 it liberalised its policy on such advertising considerably. Drug companies are now allowed to advertise their products directly to consumers, as long as they state the indications for using the drug and disclose the major health risks and side effects associated with it.

    The ruling allows drug companies to refer consumers to further information that is made available on websites, on free of charge telephone numbers, or …

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