218 Direct-to-Consumer Advertising in Oncology T he O ncologist ® a select niche, that of the potential consumer. The ques-tion is: how might this change the way we interact with patients? Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: Definition and Overview Oncology Fellow: For this discussion, direct-to-consumer advertising may be defined as any unsolicited pro-motional endeavor by a pharmaceutical company or other provider of medical services to present informa-tion about medicine or medical services to the public in the popular media . It includes television and radio advertise-ments, newspaper and magazine advertise-ments, billboards, and direct mailings. Another class of mate-rials that is sometimes considered to be direct-to-con-sumer advertising is the brochures that drug companies supply for physicians to give to patients. Although these brochures are provided to patients “indirectly” through physicians, they may have a marketing component and sometimes make claims about drug benefits and risks. Direct-to-consumer advertising does not include advertising in medical journals, for which the tar-get audience is providers and not consumers. Strictly
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