Economic Content in Medical Journal Advertisements for Medical Devices and Prescription Drugs
- 72 Downloads
Background: Previous studies of economic content in medical journal advertisements have not examined all types of economic content and have not included advertisements for medical devices.
Objective: To examine trends in the economic content of medical device and pharmaceutical advertisements in medical journals.
Methods: Three reviewers examined pharmaceutical and medical device advertisements in six leading medical journals from 1997 through 2006. Product characteristics, economic claims and evidence to support those claims were evaluated.
Results: Economic content appeared in 23.5%(561/2389) of pharmaceutical and device advertisements; 11.9% made market share claims and 12.7% made other economic claims. From 1997 through 2006, the percentage of medical device advertisements containing economic content declined from 26.7% to 6.7% (p = 0.02), whereas the percentage of pharmaceutical advertisements containing economic content remained stable (21.6–22.0%; p= 0.99). For pharmaceuticals, price claims declined significantly (15.7-4.2%; p< 0.01) and market share claims increased (2.8–11.5%; p= 0.09), and both consistently presented evidence (83% and 98%, respectively) while other types did not (e.g. 13.5%of formulary claims). Medical device economic claims differed from pharmaceutical economic claims; they made fewer market share claims (1.1% vs 12.8%) but more cost-effectiveness (6.5%vs 0.6%) and reimbursement (4.9% vs 0.8%) claims. Fewer than 2%of device advertisements with economic claims provided supporting evidence.
Conclusion: The prevalence and type of economic content in pharmaceutical and device advertisements changed between 1997 and 2006, which may reflect evolving market dynamics, such as changes in reimbursement systems. Furthermore, the lack of supporting evidence in medical device advertisements and pharmaceutical formulary claims are potential areas of concern that require additional scrutiny by regulators and journal editors.
KeywordsMedical Device Federal Trade Commission Average Wholesale Price General Medical Journal Specialty Journal
The authors thank Katina Robertson, Robert Hollowell and John Rhyner of Duke University for excellent research support and Damon Seils of Duke University for assistance with manuscript preparation.
No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this study. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.
Dr Schulman has made available online a detailed listing of financial disclosures (http://www.dcri.duke.edu/research/coi.jsp).
- 1.The White House. Executive order: promoting quality and efficient health care in federal government administered or sponsored health care programs. 2006 Aug 22 [online]. Available from URL: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060822-2.html [Accessed 2008 Jun 10]Google Scholar
- 6.Kaiser Family Foundation. Prescription drug trends: May 2007 [online]. Available from URL: http://www.kff.org/rxdrugs/upload/3057_06.pdf [Accessed 2008 Jun 5]
- 7.Healthcare consumerism: trends in consumer cost-sharing [discussion document; online]. Available from URL: http://www.boozallen.com/media/file/Trends_in_Consumer_Cost-Sharing.pdf [Accessed 2008 Jun 16]
- 8.Pammolli F, Riccaboni M, Oglialoro C, et al. Medical devices competitiveness and impact on public health expenditure: study prepared for the Directorate Enterprise of the European Commission. July 2005 [online]. Available from URL: http://www.imtlucca.it/whos_at_imt/faculty/_publications/Medical_Devices_Competitiveness_and_Impact_on_Public_Health_Expenditure.pdf [Accessed 2008 Nov 8]Google Scholar
- 10.US Food and Drug Administration. Frequently asked questions: reminder advertisements and labeling [online]. Available from URL: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/CDER/ucm090308.htm [Accessed 2008 Nov 8]
- 12.Thompson Healthcare. AWP policy (revised 2004 Feb 17) [online]. Available from URL: http://clinical.thomsonhealthcare.com/products/redbook/awp/AWP_Policy.pdf [Accessed 2008 Nov 8]
- 14.Donawa M. US regulation of advertising and promotional materials. Med Device Technol 2006; 17: 26–8Google Scholar
- 17.Gold Standard Pricing Policies [online]. Available from URL: http://www.goldstandardsource.com/pdf/PricingPolicies.pdf [Accessed 2010 Feb 6]