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Ethics of direct-to-customer prescription drug advertising

Your June 16 editorial, "Parading ailments to sell pills," unfortunately, overlooks the educational benefits of direct-to- consumer advertising of prescription medicines. Questioning the legitimacy of certain conditions and the medicines developed to fight them does not advance quality healthcare. There is real value in advertising prescription medicines to consumers. A recent nationwide poll by Prevention Magazine and Men's Health found that 28 million patients talked to their doctors for the first time about a health condition after seeing ads for prescription medicines, and that such visits often resulted in a new, previously undetected diagnosis. Unquestionably, this kind of early detection can save lives.

America's pharmaceutical research companies take seriously their responsibility to patients. That is why nearly one year ago PhRMA established Guiding Principles on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines; many of these guidelines go above and beyond current legal and regulatory requirements.
Ken Johnson
Washington Senior vice president, PhRMA

Thank you for your June 16 editorial. I have long been outraged at the increasing proliferation of prescription drug commercials these past years. Only physicians should be provided pharmaceutical information from the companies making them. Such proliferation of these ads is an unconscionable attempt by the drug companies to gain even more profit from the sale of their drugs. I am a US citizen residing in Canada, and I weep for my country.

Please keep applying the pressure, as a free press is one of the few weapons ordinary citizens have to fight such problems.
Betty Reubart
Langley, British Columbia

Outsourcing creates mutual frustration

Regarding Jane Galvin's June 23 Opinion piece, "Inside an Indian call center: the big disconnect": I recently experienced the twin frustrations of a computer problem and having to call an Indian call center for help.

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