Consumer Alert: Ads Spur Drug Requests, But Not Always in Good Way

The pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars a year advertising drugs directly to people like you. Those ad campaigns are reaching their target audience. Consumer Reports surveyed 39,000 patients and 335 doctors to see what kind of requests doctors get in a typical week.

Seventy-eight percent of the physicians Consumer Reports surveyed said they had gotten "I saw it on TV" requests. The most frequently asked for were medications for insomnia, acid reflux, impotence, and allergies. However, more than half the physicians in Consumer Reports' survey said they didn't always comply with their patients' requests.

Consumer Reports cautions that highly advertised new drugs are not necessarily the best form of treatment. Older drugs can be just as effective, cost far less, and be safer because they've been in use longer.

Consumer Reports offers a free online service to help you make an informed decision on the best prescription drugs to get for various ailments--everything from insomnia to bipolar disorder to depression to allergies, and much more. Recommendations are based on the effectiveness of the drug, its safety, and its price. You'll find the information at

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