We in America tend to take medications for almost any problem we have, from headaches to gastrointestinal pain, to more serious chronic disorders such as depression and attention deficit disorder. While many of the uses of such medications may be necessary and legitimate, many are not, and due to this fact, many people become dependent on medications, mentally, and or physically. This problem is not simply the fault of the individual; in fact, the blame can also be placed upon the medical community, and the pharmaceutical companies who produce the drugs. How often can one turn on the television to see advertisements for Claritin, Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, or even Zoloft or Ritalin? The pharmaceutical industry is motivated by monetary
If you have ever watched TV in America you are aware of “direct-to consumer" (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs. These are ads provided by drug companies in the intent to educate the general public on the benefits of their product. They often feature celebrities or catchy cartoons with very healthy satisfied patients. This type of advertising of prescription drugs is unique to the United States. It was one of only two countries that allows DTC advertising. New Zealand is the only other developed nation that does. If the intent is to educate the prospective consumers about their product then why do only two countries utilize the technique (“For Consumers”)?
Annually, the US spends $300 billion dollars on pharmaceutical drugs. This is due to the over-diagnosing of certain conditions. Everyday, Americans are exposed to an enormous amount of advertisements for medications of all kinds. For example, 1 in 10 Americans are taking
Should pharmaceuticals be the first option that is prescribed to patients who are sick or are thinking about losing weight, even if the outcome is negative? In today’s society, people are so unbelievably reliant and dependent on pharmaceuticals, we are so wrapped up in the fact that they need to fix every little thing that is wrong with themselves. Society has forced upon people that the only way for someone to be healthy and “cured” is to take drugs, but that is not necessarily the right answer. Even in historic literature such as Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth began to sleepwalk and her husband believed that the only way she would be “cured” was if the doctor prescribed her medication to take, but that was not the resolution. In some situations, this might be correct. While in others, such as dieting or headaches, drugs might not be the answer. Prescription drugs can help people while at the same time harming them, but what is more prominent: the consequence or the affirmative development into something more.
Bill Maher once mocked the aggressive nature of the drug advertisements that direct you to tell your doctor that their drug is right for you. “Tell your doctor? Shouldn’t your doctor tell you what drugs you need. When you tell your doctor isn’t he just a dealer at that point,” said Bill Maher. The American public generally trusts their government to protect them from the hidden dangers prescription and over-the-counter drugs. However, that trust isn’t fully warranted as the FDA has been featured in the GAO report of “high risk” agencies which need drastic reforms. After all, the FDA is in charge of regulating the shameless drug advertisements that inundate the airwaves.
(Herzberg 106.3: 408-10). This has become the norm. People take prescription drugs; lifestyle change is far more difficult than popping a pill. Direct to consumer advertising of prescription medication undermines a physicians authority. They went to medical school and passed rigorous testing to become a physician, prescription drug advertising is an insult to physicians. A physician takes an oath, “To do no harm”. They are compromised with the current advertising conundrum, knowing that if a patient does not get the prescription they want from them, they will simply seek another doctor. Drug seekers exist, and without prescription drug advertising they would still exist. Yet the United States is creating new drug seekers by allowing prescription
Think about how often you are watching your favorite show on television and all of a sudden you are interrupted by a commercial. The commercial begins with the following words, “Do you suffer with …” and this question follows with the following sentence, “if so, then talk to your doctor about … (the name of the medication that is being advertised)”. These prescription drug advertisements are being shown all over the United States multiple times a day. It is these advertisements that are used for publicity and marketing that are affecting Americans. The majority of Americans engage in watching television. The prescription drug advertisements do have a positive impact on Americans but, these advertisements do more harm than good.
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.
Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs has attracted several controversies, especially from people opposed to it. Some of the major arguments that have been raised include the possibility of the advertising to be a blatant manipulation of the public, the huge potential benefits to pharmaceutical companies and significant damages to the health care system. However, direct-to-consumer advertising of prescriptions drugs should be carried out properly because the advantages of this measure outweigh its disadvantages. One of the major reasons for the advertisement of
Her main focus was on the television (T.V.) advertising of medicine that is done in this country. She finds it highly unethical that pharmaceutical companies advertise drugs that are needed by patients. She further explained that it is also the way which marketing is conducted, “showing cheery people with fabulous hair on sunny days” (F. McClure, personal communication, October 14, 2013). The general public is naive to the possible side effects of these drugs and/or do not grasp the severity of many of them. Most people are looking at the pleasing visuals in these commercials, therefore they do not notice the side effects of the drugs, because the notices are in small print or run through so quickly they are incomprehensible. The viewers want what they see and ask their physicians for these drugs by name. In turn, doctors order the drugs; the companies grow bigger and market more drugs. It is a perpetual cycle, McClure expounds, and one that she and many of her cohorts wish would stop.
In the modern age of technological and medical advancements such as organ transplants and robotic limbs, Americans have developed unrealistic expectations about prescription drugs. The false belief that the right pill in the right dosage can cure all has led to a national epidemic: over prescription. Since the 1970s, the average American’s expenditure on prescription drugs has doubled because not only are new treatments for almost every ailment now available, but they are also aggressively advertised on television, the internet, and social media. At the same time that the American population confronts health issues associated with rising age, obesity, and stress levels, prescription drugs promise a quick fix for everything from depression to acne to insomnia leading to a one pill fix all.
In the January 18th 2016 issue of People Magazine, AstraZeneca ran an advertisement for Seroquel XR, an atypical antipsychotic. This advertisement was just one of seven prescription drug advertisements in the 94 page magazine, all urging readers to ask their doctors about a medication. These seven advertisements are a small sample of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisement that flood television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and websites in the United States. The debate about whether DTC advertisement for psychotropic medication provides the consumer with more information and power over their medical care and reduces stigma or whether it leads to physicians to prescribing medications before assessing other treatment options and adds to the
Advertisements have one primary purpose that is to persuade. Prescription medications Ads tell the consumers to get treatment and also imply that they have the need for it to solve their problems. Since prescription Ads have been introduced, the pharmaceutical
Society undermines these ads just as it undermines the promotion of various medicines on the market. Unaware of the dangers caused by pharmaceutical drugs, consumers are encouraged to purchase medications that are capitalistically endorsed. Pharmaceutical businesses and the government suggest that there are minor flaws with prescription drugs, but ultimately, they are safe to use. Although the marketing and promotional techniques for pharmaceuticals are completely different when compared to illegal substances, they are still extremely similar to one another. Several pharmaceuticals are just as addicting as any illegal drug and they are just as profitable as well.
Overall, the analysis found that 37% of physicians said they sometimes or often agreed to prescribe a brand-name drug at their patients’ request.” Consumers rarely think to give their doctor permission not to prescribe them a drug. The emotional connection and sense of urgency created by advertisements can make patients develop a sense of dependency on the product before even trying it.