Study: Medicine advertisements may lead to increase in overdosing

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EDISON -

A new study may have found that there is a dangerous link between opioid abuse and the marketing of opioids.

Researchers suggest that the more a company spends on marketing, the more overdose deaths occur.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that in the past 20 years, spending on health care advertising has skyrocketed from $2 billion to $10 billion.

“It means that we're spending more to advertise to you and me than to do the research that brings us the next generation of drugs,” says Art Caplan, head of medical ethics at NYU.

Caplan is also a longtime opponent of drug advertising.

“Marketing, advertising, huge budgets for that, are not consistent with getting prices down,” he says. “They drive demand toward the most expensive things. That's what gets advertised.”

Advocates say that pricey, new drugs could have drawbacks in that they may not be covered by insurance. They says that in some cases, the drugs aren’t even new. They are just a high-priced combination of two older, cheaper drugs. And the longer a drug has been on the market, the more information that is out there about safe and side effects.

Some health professionals say advertising isn’t always bad. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that the ads can encourage patients to see their doctors, which they consider to be a good thing.

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