Washington Post

Facebook has a prescription: More pharmaceutical ads

Targeting is ubiquitous when it comes to advertising a bathing suit or dish soap on social media. But some patient advocates worry applying standard ad-targeting techniques to health data could cause embarrassment in front of friends and family or discrimination by employers, potentially even affecting insurance rates or service offerings. Foto: FrankHoermann/AP

Jordan Lemasters keeps seeing ads in his Facebook app for an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug called Vyvanse. When the Chicago-based audio branding consultant recently clicked on the ad's drop-down menu and selected "Why Am I Seeing This Ad," a pop-up said it was because of his age range, because he lives in the United States and because he may have visited Vyvanse.com.

But Lemasters felt spooked. The 29-year-old had used another ADHD drug, Adderall, but never publicized it. The ads "just felt invasive," says Lemasters, who says he quit Adderall in 2017 because it made him feel like a zombie. "What bothers me is how powerful those drugs are and how it's pushed, rather than a doctor actually assessing a patient and suggesting a proper solution."..

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