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Drug Advertisements Rarely Meet FDA Guidelines

Medication errors are some of the most common forms of medical malpractice. The reason that medication mistakes occur so frequently is likely due to the prevalence of medication use. Not everyone has surgery every year, every five years, or every ten years. However, there is a good chance that many people will take some form of medication on a daily basis. Many seniors take several drugs each and every day, meaning that there are many opportunities for mistakes to be made and complications to arise.

Unlike most other forms of medical care, patients are given medication to take home for self-administration. This makes it especially important for medical professionals not to make mistakes regarding dosage or instructions, because no professional will be there to correct clear mistakes. Even when doctors and nurses are around, mistakes occur. Stories continue to pour out regarding patients-young and old-who were injured or even killed because of dosage problems or labeling mistakes. Many families in our area have had their lives turned upside down because of Illinois medication errors.

On top of the already prevalent problems, new research from discussed last week in the USA Today indicates yet another potential risk related to medication usage. New finding indicate that there may be problems with the quality of pharmaceutical advertisements in biomedical journals. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has list of guidelines which must be met by all of these advertisement for drugs placed in these journals. However, researchers found that those guidelines are frequently not met. The problem was found after an examination of 192 pharmaceutical ads for 82 different products in 12 journals. This particular study excluded ads for medical devices and over the counter medication.

Shockingly, only 18% of the ads complied with each of 20 FDA guidelines. One of the most common mistakes was failure to list the serious risks associated with the drugs, including death. Nearly 60% of the advertisement studied failed to meet the requirements in this regard. Failure rates like these indicate a clear problem on behalf of large drug companies in their commitment to following applicable rules and ensuring patient safety. Observers indicate that while the federal rule-makers intend to properly regulate the marketing of these companies, they often have limited resources to successfully ensure that others are abiding by the guidelines. The FDA’s Division of Drug Marketing and Advertising is charged with the regulation of these advertisements originating from the multi-billion dollar marketing budgets of many large pharmaceutical companies.

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand well the ways that patient safety measures are skirted so that profits can be maximized by the businesses involved. It remains unacceptable for these drug makers to disregard clear federal rules about advertisements. The FDA requirements are intended to ensure the presentation of basic safety and efficacy information. It is important for regulators to reaffirm their commitment to safety in the process and to work to hold these companies accountable for all of their negligent activities that place the lives of community members in jeopardy.

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