An article in the April 27 issue of JAMA raises an interesting point:
Researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, have found that requests from patients for medications have a "profound effect" on physicians prescribing for major depression and adjustment disorder. These findings indicate that direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing of prescription medications for depression may exert significant influence on treatment decisions.
If I read it right, though, while the first conclusion makes sense, I don't see how they got to the second conclusion that it's DTC marketing that's influencing treatment decisions. Seems to me it instead points to a need for more CME that teaches doctors to not cave in to patient requests and give them whatever they ask for, but instead prescribe whatever will best treat that particular patient.
According to a different study conducted by the FDA a couple of years ago, 53 percent of docs said they didn't feel pressure to prescribe when a patient asked about an advertised drug during the office visit. But when the patient asked about a specific brand-named drug, the number of physicians reporting they still felt no pressure dropped to 39 percent.