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Drug Companies Misleading Labels - Research Paper Example
In recent years, the aggressive efforts of the pharmaceutical industry to direct market their drugs to health consumers has led to increased misrepresentation of product labels and advertising claims. In 2007, it is estimated that BigPharma budgeted amost $5B on the sales…
These efforts can lead to excessive and inappropriate use of pharmaceuticals by health consumers. On the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry has claimed that this type of advertising has educated consumers on the different types of medications on the market and the diseases and disorders that can be treated medically. This rationale has contributed to an atmosphere of tolerance in regard to the often overstated claims made for pharmaceutical products.
Research suggests that off-label prescribing of pharmaceutical drugs can result in exaggerated and untested claims by the drug manufacturer (Conko 2010, 2). Although the use of drugs for purposes other than their originally intended use can provide many medical benefits, it can develop into an accepted mode of expanding the use of pharmaceuticals beyond the appropriate scope of their health benefits; moreover, this practice may result in unwanted and unforeseen health effects. The FDA has a formal ban on off-label product promotion, but this is often sidestepped as anecdotal reports of health benefits associated with off-label drug use are promoted in labeling and promotional advertising. These practices have created considerable confusion among health consumers who are the primary targets of misleading product labels and inadequate instructions on the proper use of medications, their potential side effects and health risks (Gilhooley 2005, 2) Some legal commentators have cited the extravagant internet advertising of pharmaceuticals as an important expansion of promotional strategies that often neglect to clearly state the label properties and risks associated with the use of a specific drug (Plant 1998, 89).
Section 502 of the Food and Drug Act deals specifically with issues of misbranding and false or misleading label practices by pharmaceutical companies (FDA 2010, 23). According to its ...