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Thoracic Society On Direct to Consumer Advertising

Press statement on: "Direct to Consumer Advertising", March 16th, 2003

For Immediate Release

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand is a professional body representing doctors, nurses and scientists whose primary focus is in the area of Respiratory Medicine.

The Executive of the New Zealand Branch of the TSANZ wishes to endorse the findings and recommendations made in the recent Report "Direct to Consumer Advertising" by the Professors of General Practice of the New Zealand Medical Schools.

The TSANZ is concerned at the impact which DTCA has been having both in the minds of patients, and in the prescribing habits of practitioners, particularly in relation to inhaled medications for asthma.

President of the Society, Associate Professor Robin Taylor said: "DTCA has a major influence on drug prescribing. But it is based on a commercial model whose primary goal is to increase the sale of drugs. The secondary goal is to improve health outcomes. This order of priority introduces unhelpful conflicts of interest which all other OECD countries, apart from the US, have sought to avoid".

"New Zealand is not a free market as far as drug prescribing is concerned. The "rules" of the free market cannot be applied to drug advertising" .

"DTCA gives rise to tensions between patients and their doctors. On the one hand, the doctor is trying to apply "evidence-based decision making" to his/her prescribing. On the other, the patient's expectations are being influenced by DTCA in favour of a particular product, which may or may not be beneficial. This does no one any good".

The TSANZ will be writing to the Minister of Health, the Rt. Hon Annette King, calling on her to discontinue DTCA for drugs in New Zealand.

TSANZ Executive Members:
Associate Professor D. Robin Taylor (President), Dunedin Hospital.
Dr Denise Aitken (Secretary/Treasurer), Rotorua Hospital.
Ms. Cheyne Chalmers, Greenlane Hospital
Associate Professor Jeff Garrett, Middlemore Hospital
Dr Alister Neill, Wellington Hospital
Ms. Maureen Swanney, Christchurch Hospital
Professor Ian Town, Christchurch School of Medicine

For further comment, contact:

Associate Professor D. Robin Taylor


Professor Ian Town
Christchurch School of Medicine



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