Feb 21, 2019

Drug ads may overwhelm consumers

Photo: Tom Kelley/Getty Images

Federal regulations require drug companies to include both major and minor side effects in their direct-to-consumer advertising — the risk of heart attacks as well as, say, dry mouth.

Why it matters: All of that information may be overwhelming consumers, causing them not to internalize the most significant risks, according to Scientific American.

Details: Researchers asked a group of people to read 2 print ads for Lunesta, the sleep aid. One was the actual ad, featuring 2 major side effects and 2 minor ones; the other only included the major side effects.

  • People who read the ad with more side effects rated the drug as safer, and thus more appealing, than people who only saw the major ones.
  • Researchers got the same results when they played the full radio ad for Cymbalta vs. an edited version that eliminated minor side effects.

What they found: Presenting people with a lot of information can dilute each piece of information, the researchers said — if you want people to really hear 1 thing, you shouldn't also tell them 20 other things at the same time.

  • In mock-up print ads, putting the major side effects in a bold font seemed to help people remember them better, even with minor side effects still listed in regular type.

Go deeper: Hospitals are making a lot of money on outpatient drugs

Go deeper

59 mins ago - Technology

The slippery slope of protest surveillance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's call to treat antifa supporters like terrorists could be a green light for high-tech surveillance of dissidents.

Why it matters: It's unlikely the Trump administration can designate antifa as a terrorist group in any legally meaningful way, but the declaration gives law enforcement tacit approval to use a plethora of tech tools to monitor protesters and left-leaning activists.

The biggest crisis since 1968

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor

The year 1968 has been on a lot of people’s minds lately — another year of protests, violence and upheaval that seemed to be tearing the nation apart.

Yes, but: This crisis also has moments we’ve never seen before — and some historians and experts say the differences suggest that 2020 doesn't compare well at all.

SoftBank to launch $100M fund backing companies led by people of color

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure said in a letter to employees early Wednesday that the firm will create a $100 million fund that "will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color."

Why it matters: The Opportunity Growth Fund is one of the first to put significant capital behind companies' statements of empathy and outrage in response to protests over systemic racism in the U.S. typified by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans by police.