A survey of 410 Texan doctors has found that 82% felt that personal injury lawsuit advertisements could lead patients to stop taking their medicines as prescribed.
The survey, conducted for the organisation Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA), came after what TALA says was a proliferation of personal injury lawyer advertising designed to recruit patients into medical lawsuits.
"With this survey, we have a diagnosis: personal injury lawyer ads can be harmful to patients," says TALA Chairman Marcus Jahns.
"While 82% of doctors are concerned these ads can lead a patient to stop taking their medicines as prescribed, nearly three-quarters of those surveyed voiced concerns that patients may make health decisions based on information they see in a lawsuit ad or lawsuit referral websites. This is frightening."
Of the 410 doctors who responded to the survey, 66% said patients have questioned their recommended course of treatment, citing concerns about claims they saw in a lawsuit advertisement.
A high 94% agreed that medical information websites that are operated by a personal injury law firm or lawsuit should include a clear, highly visible disclosure of their sponsorship of the website.
A study by the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform placed several Texas cities in the top of national rankings for personal injury lawyer advertising spending, both television and online.