The FDA's Next Target: Drugs

The report, aired on a local news program in Detroit this spring, trumpeted the success of the drug Xanax in treating panic attacks. Former Houston Oiler Earl Campbell appeared in the segment and poignantly described his battle with the psychiatric disorder. A useful little news spot? Actually, it was more of a commercial. Upjohn, which manufactures Xanax, produced the video segment, paid Campbell for his performance and sent the tape ready-made to TV stations around the U.S. as part of a campaign to peddle its product.

Traditionally, ads for prescription drugs were pitched only to doctors, primarily in medical journals. But...

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