Researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Centre have assessed the medical advertisements published in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association [Ugeskrift for Læger] during 2015. Based on this assessment, we conclude that medical advertisements lead to a more expensive and less evidence-based treatment of the patients.
The association between medical advertisements and increased costs and reduced quality of prescriptions is well known (Spurling 2010). We have previously assessed the evidence behind an ADHD advertisement, published in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association in 2015, and presented the general problems with medical advertisements. This new assessment is the first of its kind to report on what type of drugs that are most commonly advertised.
There were also coincidences of medical advertisements for specific drugs being juxtaposed to scientific articles related to the same drugs. The practice of mixing commercial and scientific content should be avoided according to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and World Association of Medical Editors, both of which have Journal of the Danish Medical Association as a member.
We elaborate on these issues in a supplement on our website: The evidence for the most advertised drugs is assessed; their prices are compared to older, better-known alternatives; and finally, an estimated impact of the medical advertisement’s revenue on the Journal of the Danish Medical Association’s budget is provided. The supplement is available in Danish here.