GOOD MORNING: The FDA is taking a scientific approach to evaluating direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising, focusing on measuring consumer perceptions of the information presented in ads. Since when is consumer behavior ever scientific?
SUMMARY: The FDA is coming under intense pressure to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug, but Aaron S. Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School via the Washington Post, says “the worst thing for people with Alzheimer’s would be to put out a product that doesn’t work.” For Biogen, the stakes are high as approval is likely to earn tens of millions, of to billions, in profits but is hope a reason to approve a drug over science?
SUMMARY: The FDA wants to look at how certain brand names affect consumer and health care providers’ perceptions about the efficacy and the medical conditions for which they’re indicated. This is just another example of how clueless the FDA is regarding patient behavior and prescription drugs.
HEY NOW: The number of people who said that they would get a COVID vaccine is dropping rapidly because they don’t trust the FDA, drug companies, or the government to approve fully tested medications. This is going to affect DTC in a big way.
QUICK READ: In a major development, a Japanese pharmaceutical company has started the final stages of human trial for its antiviral flu drug to treat COVID-19. But will their clinical trials meet the criteria for new drug approval for the FDA if successful?
KEY TAKEAWAY: Few cancer drugs approved via the accelerated FDA approval pathway were judged to have verified benefits based on improvement in survival reported in confirmatory trials.
KEY TAKEAWAY: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe” said Albert Einstein. I’m beginning to think that can be applied to the FDA when it comes to DTC ads. Studying animation in DTC ads? At a time when DTC ads are under attack the FDA should be reassuring attackers that DTC ads benefit consumers and doesn’t lead to patients requesting unnecessary prescriptions.