Free Content Consumer Advertising of Psychiatric Medications Biases the Public Against Nonpharmacological Treatment

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Abstract:

In the United States, aWntidepressant medications are heavily promoted through direct-to-consumer advertising, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Advertisements for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors frequently contain information inconsistent with the scientific evidence on the treatment of depression with antidepressants. The information presented serves to promote the use of antidepressants by biasing the public against nonpharmacological treatment of depression. While the FDA enforces regulations requiring fair and balanced presentation when comparing one medication to another, there appears to be no action taken against pharmaceutical companies that distort scientific evidence in order to disparage nonmedical approaches to depression.

Keywords: ANTIDEPRESSANT; CONSUMER ADVERTISING; DEPRESSION; PSYCHOTHERAPY; SERTRALINE

Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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