M. Freudenheim, Psychiatric Drugs are now promoted directly to patients, The New York Times, 17 February 1998, A1-D3. Fulltext available, but the gist is this:

In 1997, several manufacturers of SSRI antidepressants began Direct to Consumer (DTC) advertising campaigns in general-interest magazines; see paper at section 3.8. This disturbing article reports on a variety of other marketing techniques now used.

For example, some Prozac advertisements have included postcards inviting consumers to send for information kits and "they were also asked to provide information about any treatment for depression and to agree, in a box labeled 'Privacy Respected' to permit Lilly 'and its business partners' to use the information … to develop products and services."

In other initiative, Lilly offered "scholarships" for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Following enquiries by the New York Times, the company last month decided to drop the requirement that applicants should be taking the company's product, Zyprexa.

Several other companies are apparently now using Internet sites and toll-free telephone numbers to collect names of people taking drugs for mental health problems.

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