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Drug Advertisements Putting Pressure on Doctors

Drug Advertisements Putting Pressure on Doctors

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(AP) -- Some doctors say they feel very pressured to prescribe drugs that their patients want because they've seen them advertised on TV, and the Food and Drug Administration says most of the time when a patient asks for a specific drug, the physician will write a prescription.

The National Consumers League says the ads may be contributing to high health care costs, by helping to boost sales of expensive, brand-name drugs.

But the group also has found that the advertising has some benefits. It prompts people to seek out additional information about whether a drug might be right for them. Patients wondering if they could be suffering from certain diseases or conditions are prompted to talk with their doctors about treatment.

The Consumers League says it would like to see the government require better information in the ads about possible side effects, because patients often are confused about drug risks.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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