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FDA considering charges that could lead to more medication ads

Doctors prescribe medication for non-FDA approved uses

SAN ANTONIO – Pharmaceutical companies spend billions every year on advertising their products. The Food and Drug Administration is considering some changes that would pave the way for even more ads.

Drug companies can only advertise a drug for use that’s approved by the FDA. As it turns out, drugs are frequently prescribed for uses that are not FDA approved. It’s a common legal practice. One study shows that one out five prescriptions are written this way.

The FDA is considering giving drug companies the OK to advertise drugs for uses that are not FDA approved.

“This could be confusing to consumers, and our research shows most people don’t even want it,” said Ellen Kunes, with Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports said the issue is further complicated by a study showing drugs prescribed a different way often lack strong scientific evidence to support a use that’s not FDA approved.

“People who get a prescription from their doctor for a drug that’s not approved to treat their condition might be at a higher risk of side effects and other serious problems,” Kunes said.

When you are prescribed a new medication, Consumer Reports medical advisers suggest asking your doctor if the drug has been approved for your condition. If not, ask why he or she recommends the medication. 

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