Ad campaign will warn about health fraud

Ad campaign will warn about health fraud

A public education campaign on health fraud, or quackery, is scheduled to begin in the fall as a combined effort of the Food and Drug Administration and the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council (PAC), the organization that represents the drug advertising industry. The campaign will include radio and television public service announcements, print ads, and brochures.

In October 1984, FDA Commissioner Frank E. Young, M.D., and Roger O’Neill, then president of the PAC, wrote to advertising and public relations firms requesting ideas for the campaign. Seventy firms submitted a total of more than 100 ideas. A panel of experts will select those to be used in the campaign. The firms will then develop the materials for distribution by FDA.

Three of the “finalists” are shown on the following pages. At right is a proposed TV spot of a woman who finds that a weight-reducing gimmick doesn’t work. The conclusion of the 30-second spot notes that “miracles don’t come through the mail,” a message repeated by the announcer, who is identified on the script as “V/O” (“voice over” the picture).

The ads at right are typical of the ideas for print media submitted for the campaign. The top three carry the theme “Miracle Cures–We’re Not Buying It Anymore” and warn about baldness, diet quackery, and health fraud in general. The bottom row of proposed ads use humor to help get their messages across.

The print ads ultimately chosen for the campaigns will be offered to the nation’s newspapers and magazines to be run as a public service. Likewise, some 6,900 radio stations and 900 TV stations will be asked to use 30- and 60-second announcements designed to educate the public about both the financial and health dangers of quackery. Also available to the public will be a general brochure on health fraud produced by the FDA, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Service, and the drug advertising industry.

COPYRIGHT 1985 U.S. Government Printing Office

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