13 Jul 2008

Pharmaceutical advertising increases costs - report

4:57 pm on 13 July 2008

Pharmaceutical advertising targeting doctors in Australia is increasing medication costs to consumers and taxpayers, and could be exposing patients to unnecessary risks, according to a new report.

The report by consumer group Choice found 93% of ads in two leading medical publications aimed at GPs were for newer high-blood pressure medicines.

The medicines were still under patent, but not necessarily more effective than older treatments, and possibly costing much more.

The report found that the recommended first-line treatment for high-blood pressure, chlorthalidone, was not advertised at all and rarely prescribed in Australia despite it being cheaper than the commonly prescribed treatments.