Document Detail

The inverse benefit law: how drug marketing undermines patient safety and public health.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21233426     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Recent highly publicized withdrawals of drugs from the market because of safety concerns raise the question of whether these events are random failures or part of a recurring pattern. The inverse benefit law, inspired by Hart's inverse care law, states that the ratio of benefits to harms among patients taking new drugs tends to vary inversely with how extensively the drugs are marketed. The law is manifested through 6 basic marketing strategies: reducing thresholds for diagnosing disease, relying on surrogate endpoints, exaggerating safety claims, exaggerating efficacy claims, creating new diseases, and encouraging unapproved uses. The inverse benefit law highlights the need for comparative effectiveness research and other reforms to improve evidence-based prescribing.
Howard Brody; Donald W Light
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-01-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of public health     Volume:  101     ISSN:  1541-0048     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Public Health     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-02-10     Completed Date:  2011-03-29     Revised Date:  2013-07-02    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1254074     Medline TA:  Am J Public Health     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  399-404     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Institute for the Medical Humanities, Department of Family Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1311, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
Drug Industry / ethics*
Drug and Narcotic Control / organization & administration*
Health Policy*
Marketing / ethics*
Prescription Drugs / adverse effects*
Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
Public Health*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Prescription Drugs

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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