The network newscasts rely so heavily on revenue for Big Pharma and their viewers are subjected to so many of its ads, that they are duty bound to cover pharmaceutical controversies. So both NBC and CBS were remiss when they filed to report on a Congressional panel on the $5.4bn-a-year Direct To Consumer pharmaceutical advertising business. ABC had Lisa Stark (embargoed link) give the House hearings A Closer Look. They concentrated on Vytorin, the cholesterol medicine from Merck and Schering-Plough, whose ads helped drum up $5bn in sales "even as the companies held back on releasing a study that called into question its effectiveness." Duke University's Ruth Day testified with some content analysis of how DTC ads balance risks and benefits. The delivery of information on risks uses "faster and more complicated language as well as visual distractions," she testified. Think about that bee with the foreign accent in those Nasonex spots.
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