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Should Pharmaceutical Companies Use Direct-to-Consumer Advertising?

Updated on October 7, 2016

Should Pharmaceutical Companies Use Direct-to-Consumer Advertising?

Open a magazine or turn on the TV and it won't be long before you see an advertisement for a prescription medication. These direct to consumer advertisements cut out the doctor who is the one who knows much more about prescriptions and their uses than the consumers. The claims in these commercials are often grand, and the side effects printed too tiny to read, or spoken to fast to understand.

With the costs of medications and healthcare in general being so high, should the pharmaceutical companies be charging so much for meds while putting 4 page ads in Woman's Day magazine? Shouldn't your doctor know the best medication for you given the ailments you describe and display?

Sarafem and Prozac

Although Sarafem and Prozac are chemically identical, branding has caused two different pills to exist - Prozac which is yellow and green, and Sarafem which is pink and purple. Prozac is used to treat an array of symptoms associated with depression, while Sarafem is used to treat one highly contested and little recognized condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Do you think the women who see the commercials and specifically request Sarafem know that it is just repackaged Prozac?

This advertising is to get them to buy Sarafem, not to educate them on PMDD and to ask their doctor for something that would help. Wouldn't that be a better system. Doesn't your doctor know best what you need?

The Influence of Advertisements

Have you ever asked your doctor for a specific medication based on an advertisement?

See results

Commercials for Prescription Medications

Millions of dollars are used on TV and magazine commercials, as well as billboards, radio ads, and other advertising directed toward the end consumers...meanwhile millions of people cannot afford the prescriptions their doctors tell them they need.


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      Edutopia 5 years ago

      We should straight outlaw direct to consumer advertising for all medical products. It biases patients and gives them false ideas about their treatment.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      Sorry, "their ads" is what I meant...

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 9 years ago

      I think there ads should merely focus on educating consumers about conditions and to discuss treatment with their physician. It requires a license to practice as a physician and they shouldn't try to play that role.