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Choice or Nonadherence?


This research attacks direct to consumer drug advertising based on the idea that by inappropriately providing information about adverse effects to patients, drug companies interfere with treatment ordered by their prescribers. It also implies that patients "can't handle the truth" and fail to comply with recommended treatment.

Drug companies probably only do this to protect themselves from litigation, since publication of adverse effects might adversely affect sales. The evidence points to a more important conclusion: When patients know more about the risks associated with their medications, many choose not to take those medications.

Perhaps prescribers -- or pharmacists -- should take more time to review all those risks before prescribing -- or dispensing -- and respect the patient's choice.

What does this evidence suggest about the fears widespread inappropriate use of drugs if we no longer required a prescription?