Hormone Replacement Therapy advertising: sense and nonsense on the web pages of the best-selling pharmaceuticals in Spain

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Title: Hormone Replacement Therapy advertising: sense and nonsense on the web pages of the best-selling pharmaceuticals in Spain
Authors: Chilet Rosell, Elisa | Martín Llaguno, Marta | Ruiz-Cantero, María Teresa | Alonso Coello, Pablo
Research Group/s: Salud Pública | COSOCO (Comunicación y Sociedad del Conocimiento)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Enfermería Comunitaria, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública e Historia de la Ciencia | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Comunicación y Psicología Social
Keywords: Hormone Replacement Therapy | Advertising | Internet
Knowledge Area: Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública
Issue Date: 16-Mar-2010
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: CHILET ROSELL, Elisa, et al. "Hormone Replacement Therapy advertising: sense and nonsense on the web pages of the best-selling pharmaceuticals in Spain". BMC Public Health. 2010 10:134. ISSN 1471-2458
Abstract: Background. The balance of the benefits and risks of long term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have been a matter of debate for decades. In Europe, HRT requires medical prescription and its advertising is only permitted when aimed at health professionals (direct to consumer advertising is allowed in some non European countries). The objective of this study is to analyse the appropriateness and quality of Internet advertising about HRT in Spain. Methods. A search was carried out on the Internet (January 2009) using the eight best-selling HRT drugs in Spain. The brand name of each drug was entered into Google's search engine. The web sites appearing on the first page of results and the corresponding companies were analysed using the European Code of Good Practice as the reference point. Results. Five corporate web pages: none of them included bibliographic references or measures to ensure that the advertising was only accessible by health professionals. Regarding non-corporate web pages (n = 27): 41% did not include the company name or address, 44% made no distinction between patient and health professional information, 7% contained bibliographic references, 26% provided unspecific information for the use of HRT for osteoporosis and 19% included menstrual cycle regulation or boosting feminity as an indication. Two online pharmacies sold HRT drugs which could be bought online in Spain, did not include the name or contact details of the registered company, nor did they stipulate the need for a medical prescription or differentiate between patient and health professional information. Conclusions. Even though pharmaceutical companies have committed themselves to compliance with codes of good practice, deficiencies were observed regarding the identification, information and promotion of HRT medications on their web pages. Unaffected by legislation, non-corporate web pages are an ideal place for indirect HRT advertising, but they often contain misleading information. HRT can be bought online from Spain, without a medical consultation or prescription constituting a serious issue for public health. In our information society, it is the right and obligation of public health bodies to ensure that such information is not misleading.
Sponsor: This study is funded by the Women's Institute (Ref: 773; Expte.69/05).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/15787
ISSN: 1471-2458
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-134
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2010 Chilet-Rosell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-10-134
Appears in Collections:INV - SP - Artículos de Revistas
INV - COSOCO - Artículos de Revistas
Institucional - IUIEG - Publicaciones

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