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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Office of Prescription Drug Promotion

Accurate and complete information is vital to the safe use of drugs. While drug companies have traditionally promoted their products directly to physicians, more and more they are advertising directly to consumers. Advertising of OTC drugs is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, but FDA oversees the advertising of prescription drugs. Advertisements for a drug must contain a truthful summary of information about its effectiveness, side effects, and circumstances when its use should be avoided.

In addition to its efforts to improve the information that accompanies OTC drugs, FDA monitors a voluntary program that seeks to provide consumer information for prescription drugs in the pharmacy. The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) watches this program closely to ensure that it meets its goals for quantity and quality of information. OPDP's mission is 

"To protect the public health by assuring prescription drug information is truthful, balanced and accurately communicated. This is accomplished through a comprehensive surveillance, enforcement and education program, and by fostering better communication of labeling and promotional information to both healthcare professionals and consumers."