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What We're Reading: TV Drug Ads; Kmart Drug Settlement; Evidence-Based Medicine


In the last 4 years, the number of drug ads seen on TV has increased 65%; Kmart settled a prescription drug case over allegations it was being overpaid by the government; understanding the term "evidence-based" and how critics and supporters view it.

More Prescription Drug Ads on TV

In 2016, there was a 65% increase over 2012 in the number of drug ads shown on television. According to The New York Times, spending by pharmaceutical companies for TV ads has more than doubled in the past 4 years. An analysis of the types of drugs being advertised has found that the focus is on serious ailments, such as cardiology issues and cancer. This represents a shift from common ads in the past for chronic but nonfatal conditions, which mirrors the fact that drug companies are marketing to an older population that tends to have more serious medical issues and still watches TV.

Kmart Settles Prescription Drug Case

Kmart has settled a case alleging that the retail store offered discounted prices at its pharmacies for customers who paid in cash, but didn’t report those discounts to the government. The company is paying $32.2 million to settle the case and the allegations that the government overpaid Kmart because it was not told about the discounted prices, reported AP. The settlement is part of a larger $59 million settlement that includes state Medicaid programs and insurance claims.

Understanding the Term “Evidence-Based”

The concept of “evidence-based” isn’t that old. It was introduced to a broad audience in 1997, and it is often described very differently depending on who is using the term. In The Upshot blog, Aaron E. Carroll, MD, outlines the arguments of supporters of evidence-based medicine and critics of it. The battle over whether evidence-based recommendations are good for healthcare or not is not new, and it doesn’t necessarily break along partisan lines.

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