Can drug ads be false or misleading?

When you and your fellow Kentucky residents watch a prescription drug advertisement on television, you should be able to trust that what you see and hear about the drug is accurate. But in the event you buy the medication and end up experiencing ill effects from the drug, you might have been tricked by deceptive advertising, whether on television, radio, or on the drug packaging itself. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration explains that drug ads, if they are misleading, actually violate the law.

One way a prescription ad may be legally dubious is by making claims about the medication that are not true. The ad makers may exaggerate the effectiveness of the drug or claim the drug is safe for certain patients when in reality the drug has not been tested on such patients. Some ads claim their products will treat an illness or condition, but the FDA has not actually cleared the drug to treat those conditions.

Some ads will appear to make authoritative claims. They will cite a scientific study that will cite the effectiveness of the drug on patients. However, the advertisement may misrepresent what the study actually says. The ad might actually leave out important information from the study to make the medication look better than it is. Other ads may cite forms of evidence as proof, but in reality the evidence is inconclusive.

There are also ads that do not state critical information. According to the FDA, certain drug advertisements must contain particular forms of information. An electronic media ad like a television or radio spot should describe ways for the audience to locate the drug’s prescribing information. Promotional labeling and product claim advertisements should describe the risks and benefits inherent to the drug. In general, drug ads should also tell you where to report negative effects you may suffer from taking the medication.

Some ads are classified by the FDA as reminder ads, which should not make claims about drugs, or feature drugs that contain boxed warnings. These ads are only intended to remind the audience about the existence of the drug but not to describe the use of the drug. Additionally, ads that raise disease awareness should not recommend prescription medication for treatment.

If your health takes a bad turn because of prescription medication, seek medical help at once. Do what you can to secure your health. Down the road, you may have a case that your medication was falsely advertised to you. But since problems with medication can take many forms, do not consider this article as a form of legal advice. Only read it for general information on this topic.

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