Developing drug facts boxes: Giving consumers clear, authoritative data to inform their prescription-drug-related decisions

If basic information about the benefits and harms of prescription drugs were displayed as clearly and prominently as food and beverage information in the nutrition label, would consumers make different decisions about which drugs are right for them? Unfortunately the information consumers encounter — direct-to-consumer drug advertisements and package inserts — is confusing, hard to read, and incomplete. In response, Steve Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz, physician-researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, have developed Drug Facts Boxes — one-page, standardized tables that, like the nutrition label, clearly summarize drug benefits and harms. The boxes aim to help patients make informed decisions about drugs — including when not to take them.

Woloshin and Schwartz see Drug Facts Boxes as part of the revolution in patient empowerment. "Medications have benefits, but they also have harms. People need to be clear about the tradeoffs," Woloshin says. "The information consumers get nowadays often leads them to assume that benefits are bigger than they really are. How can you decide if a drug is worth taking unless you know the likely benefits and harms? It

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $644,290.00

Awarded on: 7/30/2008

Time frame: 8/1/2008 - 2/28/2012

Grant Number: 63533


Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

35 Centerra Parkway, Suite 100
Lebanon, 03766-1421


Lisa Miriam Schwartz
Project Director


Steven E. Woloshin
Project Director