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Decline in TV Ads Could Reduce Dangerous Drug Cases

When drug manufacturers were given the opportunity to advertise on television for the first time, the decision was a controversial one. There were concerns that patients would be misled by drug ads or prompted to ask for drugs from their doctors they didn't really need or that weren't right for them. There were also concerns that patients would be more inclined to ask for expensive or name-brand drugs instead of just trusting their doctor to choose a medication, which might perhaps have been a better one.

Our Framingham, MA dangerous drug lawyers know that many of these concerns were not unfounded. In 2004, for example, the drug manufacturer Merck had to withdraw Vioxx after studies showed that the pain killer increased the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Vioxx had been very heavily advertised on TV and many more patients may have used the drug due to the advertisements than might have otherwise been exposed to Vioxx.

Unfortunately, TV drug advertising has long continued unabated despite criticisms. Now, however, the New York Times indicated that there may finally be a decline in drug ads on TV as many drug makers are pulling back and dialing down their ad budgets.

As the New York Times reports:

  • Nielsen estimates that drug manufacturers spent approximately $3.1 billion advertising various products in the year 2007. This was 10 years after the FDA had first lifted its regulations. In 1997, the FDA had permitted drug manufacturers to advertise on TV to consumers for the first time.
  • During the past five years, and especially in 2010 and 2011, spending on drug ads for TV audiences has fallen more than 20 percent. This dramatic decline contrasts sharply with the rapid increase in spending leading up to the $3.1 billion ad budgets in 2007.

The Times indicates that there are a lot of potential reasons why drug companies may not be advertising as much on TV. One obvious reason is that there has continued to be controversy about whether these ads are a bad thing, with high-profile cases like Vioxx  drawing even more attention to the issue.

Complaints from both insurance companies and from doctors are also cited as a possible reason for the sharp decline in the number of companies advertising their drug products directly to television audiences. Both doctors and health insurance companies believe that TV ads tend to draw patients into taking medications that are the most costly, even if there are other alternatives that are just as good or better. Both costs and concern over patients health have made doctors wary of drug ads.

Another possible reason for the decline in drug advertisements is that the F.D.A. and the American Medical Association (AMA) have been monitoring these ads more carefully in recent years, especially in light of the problem caused by widespread acceptance of new (and dangerous) drugs. Crackdowns and closer monitoring can make drug manufacturers nervous that their ads won't pass muster.

Whatever the reason for the decline, however, it is clear that fewer advertisements is a good thing. Hopefully without aggressive ad campaigns, new drugs will spread more slowly throughout the market so there will be more time to catch potential problems before they are embraced by huge numbers of people who could get hurt if they turn out to be defective.

If you've been injured, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with one of the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.

Motorcycle Accidents More Likely to Injure Older Riders

In Boston, there are lots of motorcycle riders who enjoy using their motorcycles for pleasure riding or for commuting. As soon as we hit the spring thaw, the diehards will be on the road. Thousands of others will soon follow, as people enjoy motorcycles and scooters as an economical alternative for making their way through city traffic.  Unfortunately, these motorcycle riders are at serious risk of injury if they become involved in a collision.

Our Lowell, MA injury attorneys know that drivers of any age can be seriously hurt or even killed as a result of a motorcycle accident. Recently, however, a new study indicates that older motorcycle riders may have a significantly greater risk of becoming involved in a serious motorcycle accident than younger riders.

Older Riders More Likely to Suffer Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Information about the recent study that addressed the added dangers of motorcycles for older riders was published by BBC News. Originally published in Injury Prevention, the study was based on data from the United States National Electronic Injury Surveillance System - All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP).

The NEISS-AIP collects information from more than 100 hospitals throughout the U.S. Researchers reviewed information in the NEISS-AIP from 2001 to 2008 to identify incidents where motorcycle accidents necessitated a trip to a hospital or admission to a hospital. There were 1.5 million cases identified in NEISS-AIP where adults ages 20 and older sought treatment at a hospital after a motorcycle crash.

Based on the data collected from hospitals, the study revealed that:

  • Riders ages 60 and up had a 2 1/2 times greater chance of getting seriously hurt because of a motorcycle crash than did younger drivers in their 20s and 30s.
  • Riders ages 60 and up who rode motorcycles had a three times greater chance of seriously injuring themselves badly enough to be admitted into the hospital than drivers who were in their 30s or younger.
  • Adults ages 60 and older had a far greater chance of having medical conditions that made the risk of serious injury or hospitalization more likely. These conditions include bone density loss; cardiac problems; hypertension and diabetes.

In fact, the added risk to older adults comes from a number of potential bodily changes. Older riders, for example, may have a different fat distribution that makes them more susceptible to injury. They likely have a less elastic chest wall that can exacerbate the dangers of a crash.

The changes to their bodies that older drivers face may also increase the likelihood not only of serious injury but also of getting into an accident in the first place. An older driver is more likely to have balance difficulties; vision problems and delayed reaction time. These factors, too, contributed to a greater risk of accident and thus to a greater risk of being hospitalized for a motorcycle injury.

Finally, one last factor stems from the fact that older drivers are often more well-off than their younger counterparts. An older motorcycle rider may be able to afford a better bike, which is faster and has more power. If he rides faster or takes risks, then the older driver again ups his chances of becoming involved in a crash.

If you've been injured, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with one of the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.