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Harvard Health Ad Watch: What you should know about direct-to-consumer ads

November 25, 2019


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Daniel Krell, M.D.
October 18, 2019

I see risk to prescribing physicians if they acquiesce to a patient’s request for a specific drug, in response to DTC advertising. If the patient experiences an adverse outcome of that drug’s use I am concerned that the doctor would be at some legal risk, particularly if not familiar with the drug or had not prescribed the drug other than to this patient. I could picture a plaintiff’s attorney asking the doctor if they would have prescribed the drug without the patient’s request for it. If the doctor had not prescribed it before, the attorney could ask why the doctor was willing to prescribe a medicine with which they had had no experience, simply on the request of the patient, based on a DTC TV ad. I would not be comfortable in that situation, with a plaintiff’s attorney in my face.

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