Pharmaceutical drugs should not be advertised to the general public

On the rare occasions that I watch TV anymore, I always get annoyed at commercials for prescription only drugs. “Ask your doctor if the Purple Pill is right for you!”

No! Tell your doctor your symptoms, then he will tell you what’s right for you! There’s a very strong possibility that the “purple pill” isn’t right for you, and the doctor will have to waste both your time and his time explaining to you why he’s not going to prescribe it. This drives up medical costs for everyone, as do the billions of the dollars spent on these advertisements.

Other countries ban these types of commercials. So should the United States.

I completely agree. I would be okay with ads that say something like, “If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction/high blood pressure with achy feet/the condition known as “hot dog fingers,” see your doctor to learn about treatment options.”

No mention of a drug name allowed. Let people know that there might be new medications to treat specific ailments, but let the doctors choose the right medicine.

Of course, pharmaceuticals are promoted to doctors as well on bases other than their medical efficacy.

IME this discussion usually winds up with the conclusion that the profit motive subverts good medicine.

I prefer to decide for myself what I will do with information, and don’t want the government telling me where I am able to get it.

You’re simply not qualified to evaluate the information on a 30 second commercial for a drug that can have complex interactions with the body.

Not that I disagree, Big John, but that you phrased that rather awkwardly. I doubt that you have any problem with being offered information, regardless of source. Disinformation, however…

“Ask your doctor today about the Brown Acid! Mmmmm-good!”

And I prefer that the (already exorbitantly expensive) cost of prescription drugs isn’t unneccesarily increased to pay for the cost of advertisements (which is estimated to be about a quarter of the overall cost of the drugs).

And that’s why they are offered only as prescription drugs. So, I’ll ask my doctor about it if I want, and I don’t need you to babysit me through the process, thank-you-very-much.

And we pay a hefty price for your freedom. Nobody is stopping you from doing a Google search. I just want to stop pharmaceutical companies from pissing billions away on advertisements to a general public not knowledgeable enough to benefit from them.

And I prefer to be given a pony. I demand a law that gives me one.

Besides, prices are set by supply and demand, not necessarily by advertising costs. If you eliminate advertising and suppress demand, that could easily cause the price to go up, not down. I’ll also note that you are incorrect in saying that they spend 25% of the cost of the drug. They spend 25% of their sales dollars. Your study also does not distinguish between prescription drug advertising and non-prescription drugs.

Advertising cars drives their cost up. Why do I need Ford to advertise different models of cars when I can just go to the dealership, tell the staff what kind of automotive needs I have and they can tell me what car I should buy.

Legal products should not be banned from advertising in a free country. This should include pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, hard liquor, and Nevada brothels.
There are far too many drugs out there for a doctor to know all of them. About a year ago I mentioned Uloric to my Dr. and he had never heard of it. He called me about a week later and said he looked up on it and felt it was in fact a better alternative to the Allopurinol he had me on. Had I not mentioned it from a magazine ad I saw, I wouldn’t have gotten it.

Purely out of curiosity, has anybody here ever gone to their doctor and requested a specific product? It would never occur to me to do such a thing, personally.

Pharmaceutical drugs are not like other consumer products, in that they are not available for direct sales to the general public, for good reason. They are capable of both great benefit and great harm and it has long been viewed that they should be provided to people on the basis of specialized training and knowledge. Therefore it seems entirely reasonable to me that direct advertising of pharmaceuticals to people without such knowledge can be regulated and banned. One of the compelling reasons (to me) for banning these ads is that they drive up costs related to the prescribing of new drugs under patent protection, which are usually much more expensive than older, competing drugs without having demonstrated they are more effective (and are marketed with much less practical knowledge of their side effects). Since governments pay for health care, they have a legitimate interest in keeping costs down, and this includes the cost of new drugs which are not superior to the old ones (but which consumers are led to believe are better).

The general argument that advertising drives up costs is less compelling for me. Should we ban ads for auto insurance, a product which everybody must buy but which has a significant advertising-related cost built in?*

*If I were made Media Czar, one thing I’d do is declare a six-month moratorium on the advertising of auto insurance and cellphones/cellphone service, on the principle that we badly need a break from these ads. The drug ads would be flat-out banned.

Did you read the post right above yours?


I just said that I did:

Until your head is cut off and stuck on a pike because we need a break from fascism.

:smack: :smack: :smack:

(And yes, but apparently not very carefully.)

People must. It is the mainstay of pharm advertising.

That’s all well and good, but they should also stop the “hot” pharm saleswomen from waltzing into my doctor’s office and whoring their wares while I’m waiting for my appointment, as well.