In the early 1980s, the pharmaceutical industry began marketing prescription drugs directly
to patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposed a
moratorium on this marketing strategy in 1983, then lifted it in
1985.1 Since then, the industry has devoted increasing
resources to this strategy. In a 1988 editorial on direct-to-consumer
(DTC) marketing, Eric P. Cohen, MD, wrote, "Issues of regulation of
advertising, cost, competition, public health, and individual well
being need to be carefully examined."2
these issues in rigorous, independent studies has not occurred. Despite
the lack of studies, the FDA has relaxed regulations governing DTC
marketing of prescription drugs.3
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