Are Old Drugs Better than New?

Don't switch based on the ads. Some side effects emerge only after a drug is approved

The release of a new drug is a pretty big deal in the world of medicine. The company that made it will throw a lavish party. The stock market will react to the news. Doctors will be inundated with freebies and trial samples. And now that the Food and Drug Administration has lifted its restrictions against direct advertising, the public too will be assaulted with ad campaigns in newspapers, magazines and television.

As a physician, I often hear from patients who have read about a new medication and want me to write a prescription. To them, I must sound like...

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