April 7, 2017 – Direct to Consumer


Anchor lead: Testosterone use shoots up when consumers are exposed to advertisements for it, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you watch television at all you know that pharmaceutical companies advertise drugs regularly directly to consumers. Now a new analysis shows what happens in the wake of such ads in use of the male hormone testosterone. Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, offers his opinion.

Klag: This study shows that direct to consumer ads change behavior. And that may be good if in fact the behavior you’re trying to change is one that’s reasonable and medically indicated. In this case that’s not true.  This study shows that marketing was associated with an increased risk of inappropriate testing, and use of testosterone replacement. What’s wrong with that? We know that testosterone replacement can have some harmful side effects. It appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for example.  :27

Klag notes that very few men actually need to take testosterone supplements and some of the men in this study took it without even having their blood tested. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.