Corruption of the Pharmaceutical Industry in America Essay

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"In the past two decades or so, health care has been commercialized as never before, and professionalism in medicine seems to be giving way to entrepreneurialism," commented Arnold S. Relman, professor of medicine and social medicine at Harvard Medical School (Wekesser 66). This statement may have a great deal of bearing on reality. The tangled knot of insurers, physicians, drug companies, and hospitals that we call our health system are not as unselfish and focused on the patients' needs as people would like to think. Pharmaceutical companies are particularly ruthless, many of them spending millions of dollars per year to convince doctors to prescribe their drugs and to convince consumers that their specific brand of drug is needed in…show more content…
Despite this, the industry did not alter its ways, maintaining that its ad campaigns were "educational," and that people were able to make their own decisions about what they purchased (Payer 66). However, it is evident that the advertisements produced by the pharmaceutical industry are designed for the very purpose of making it difficult for people to make these decisions independently. This marketing produces a large number of often deceptive, misleading tactics which have a large influence on both consumers and medical practitioners. The chief beneficiaries of this marketing are not the consumers but the pharmaceutical companies themselves.

The pharmaceutical industry uses more intensive, widespread advertisements than any other industry in the United States (Federal Trade Commission 11). According to James Greenan, former presiding officer of the Federal Trade Commission, the industry's ads "usually function to present a problem-solution equation and register that equation in the memory of the potential consumer along with the brand name of the product involved" (Greenan 95). The brand name is presented as a possible solution to a problem. It is hoped that, in the potential consumer's mind, the brand name is associated with relief from an uncomfortable situation. For example, the two ad slogans,
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