July 10, 2008

Personal Post 21: Why All These Drug Company Commercials?

It's getting ridiculous. SNL already has skits about them, and you can't watch 30 minutes of TV these days (some simplifiers don't even watch TV, me? I still like things like Lonesome Dove and Casablanca ....) without seeing a drug being advertised.

I find it entertaining to watch how they try and creatively include all the side effects into the advertisement without scaring the YouKnowWhat out of you. My favorites are the ones with LOTS of side effects, like that fake-doctor one ....

Anyway, I went surfing for the answer to my question, WHY are we seeing these? And here's what I found:

1. Over at the FDA, there's a Truth in Advertising section where doctors reportedly LIKE the advertisments, saying things like (most popular response) they provide "better discussion with patient" (53%) and patient more aware of treatments (42%).

2. I learned over at Consumer Reports that these ads are called "DTC," Direct to Consumer, and they're only expected to increase. Great.... I also learned that Consumer Reports began its own campaign on these ads, and their video reports can be seen here.

3. Democracy in Action has started a campaign to outlaw these DTC drug advertisements. They, along with many other organizations, have endorsed the Public Health Protection Act - and if you want to tell your members of Congress that you support this Act, their site gives you a direct email capability. Meanwhile, Consumers Union has a petition to the FDA going over at their site, asking the FDA to ban DTC ads.

Me? I don't think they should be on television, and it's getting laughable at how prevalent they are becoming. Didn't the doctors and hospitals do a good enough job dispensing their products? Do they really need to tout their miracle cures directly to our families during the evening sitcom or weekend football game? Seems to insult the physician and the patient, IMHO.

One thing that I expect to rise right along with them: the personal injury attorneys' advertisement for all the drugs and devices that have been recalled, seeking victims of bad drugs in the marketplace. You know, like Avandia, Crestor, Prempro, Risperdal, Vioxx, Bextra, ....
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