Drug Ads Losing Power, Study Says
Most patients don't ask for drugs by name
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jan 13, 2009 4:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Maybe it's the extensive warnings at the end of drug commercials, but few Americans request prescription drugs by name, a new study shows. In Colorado, only 3.5% of patients—half the number of 2003—requested specific medicine from doctors. This is despite more than $5 billion pharmaceuticals pay to market drugs such as Viagra and Lunesta directly to consumers each year, MSNBC reports.

When patients do make drug requests, doctors prescribe them half of the time—indication, perhaps, that physicians have wisened to marketing tactics. "Now doctors are comfortable hearing it and responding," the study's author says. Recent recalls also may have made viewers more cautious. Though their effectiveness is questioned, drug ads—legal only in the US and New Zealand—have exploded since restrictions were loosened a decade ago.