Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Caveat Emptor: Pharma Prescription Drug Advertising

Have you noticed the large numbers of tv advertisements that pharmaceutical companies are now using to bombard the consumer with their latest and greatest wonder drugs? They promise relief from everything from depression, pain, insomnia and erectile dysfunction to lowering your cholesterol. Ah, but the relief comes with a price: foot long lists of documented side effects which are often more lethal than the initial problem. So, what gives?  Is the advertising being done for the education and benefit of the American consumer, or are more insidous forces - drug company profits - at work?  Let's take a brief look at the dismal facts.

Free Rein of Prescription Drug Advertising

What's happened is that in 1997 due to changes in direct-to-consumer advertising laws, big pharma  companies can now advertise their prescripion drugs on tv.  As a result, between 1994 to 2000, a large increase of 40 fold increase has occurred with drug advertisements.

What has been the result? Well, Americans are watching up to 16 hours a week of prescription drug advertising.   Subliminal and overt messages fly non-stop across the screen. The consumer is given half-truths about diseases that require prescription drug treatment.  Just think about it, why would drug companies target the non-medical consumer with ads about conditions and the drugs that treat them? Facts show that if a condition and its associated prescription remedy are shown enough, a person will think that he has the disease and that he needs the drug. In turn, patients will pressure their doctors into writing prescriptions. (Sadly, this isn't too hard since the doctors are already receiving their brainwashing about the benefits of a new drugs via free samples, lunches and incentives to write prescriptions-kickbacks). And, worse yet, big pharma glorifies the actions of its drug product and minimizes the side effects.  Sadly, this information misleads a lot of folks into thinking that making positive lifestyle changes by exercising and watching the diet aren't important, or at least that they are secondary to taking the medication. After all, why exercise and change your diet/lifestyle when relief is only a pill away?

 The price of intimacy

Erectile dysfunction has nearly become a household word along with the drugs to cure it. What man doesn't want to be "ready when she is"? This has lead to the romanticization of sexual dysfunction. Conversations about such intimate and personal medical conditions were once considered taboo. Now, pre-teems know what these terms mean. What's next?

Get the facts and make your own decisions

  The repeated adertisements of medical conditions and prescription drug treatment has resulted in the over-medication of the public. This opens the door to many needless hospitalizations, drug side effects and deadly drug interactions and allergies with sometimes fatal outcomes.

The only way to protect your family and yourself from this horrible issue is to educate yourself, seek non-drug interventions first, if possible, and work with your medical professional in making positive lifestyle changes. Ask your doctor questions about treatments and the success rate of non-drug treatments, if appropriate.  Sometimes, certin condition only require increased activity/exercise and a healthier diet.

Good health to you!


"TV ads for Statins drive Over Diagnosis and Overtreatment, According to Study"

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