Pester power and new drugs

‘New drugs by their very nature are incomplete products, as full information about their safety, effectiveness and impact on costs are [sic] not yet available. It is worth noting that enthusiastic support for what is “new” is not the sole preserve of newspapers and can often easily be seen in other media outlets and among the medical and scientific communities.

“Pester power” is a concept normally associated with advertising aimed at children. The question to be asked in this context is, are we witnessing patient pester power or quasi direct-to-consumer advertising, where awareness is raised about new products and patients, charities and indeed clinicians then demand that these products be made available? If this is the case, we need to know more about who is driving this type of marketing, its actual impact on clinician and consumer behaviours and whether it is permitted within the existing regulatory code of practice.’

Wilson PM, Booth AM, Eastwood A et al. Deconstructing media coverage of trastuzumab (Herceptin): an analysis of national newspaper coverage. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2008:101:125-32