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Tuesday
Sep132011

Pill-Popping Americans Making Wrong Decisions, Study Finds

Comstock/Thinkstock(LEBANON, N.H.) -- Many Americans aren't making informed decisions about many of the medications they're taking, according to a new study by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

For instance, the research finds 40 percent of respondents believe that the Food and Drug Administration only approves "extremely effective drugs," which isn't necessarily true.

Another 25 percent mistakenly think that the FDA only allows drugs to reach the market once it's shown that they don't have serious side effects.  A perfect example of that is the controversial arthritis pill Vioxx, which caused heart problems in people long after the drug gained FDA approval.

The bottom line, according to the authors, is that people often wrongly eschew tried-and-true drugs for newer, expensive drugs because "there's a widespread perception that newer is better."

Apparently doctors, just like the rest of us, will fall prey to drug company marketing that suggests something that hasn't been available before is somehow more effective in treating a patient's ills.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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