F@#k Big Pharma – Ban direct to consumer drug adverts

December 1, 2009 — 13 Comments

Seriously.

Please stretch your mind.. ask around, show me any evidence, make something up if you need. Answer me this:

WHAT BENEFIT DOES DIRECT TO CONSUMER DRUG ADVERTISING PROVIDE TO ANYONE BESIDES BIG PHARMA?

How many commercials mentioning anal leakage do I need to see?

Boner pills, Heart pills, Arthritis pills, Asthma pills, Restless leg syndrome pills.. yeah restless leg syndrome gets a pill, Cholesterol pills, Depression Pills.. you have it, you may think you have it, you are now convinced you have it: pills. I ranted about this a while ago.. still bugs me.

Drug Consumers are a buying a product like a TV or a new Couch. They are sold to, marketed to. Rather than go to Best Buy and get a TV, they go to the Dr. and get Erection meds.

This only benefits big Pharma.

Doctors are suppose to diagnose and prescribe treatment. Maybe 20 years ago. Dr.s today get kickbacks from drug companies for writing scripts to consumers who have diagnosed themselves.

Harvard Medical School is caught up in a scandal over big pharma.

WTF? Show me how this benefits anyone but big Pharma?  You want health care costs to come down, stop letting every dumb American walk out of urgent care with 30 scripts for what ails them.

Strebel

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I write here on this blog. Kinda cool huh.

13 responses to F@#k Big Pharma – Ban direct to consumer drug adverts

  1. Why the hell do you care what other people choose to pay for and the drugs they want to buy? I don’t drink, but I don’t go around complaining about all the alcohol commercials on TV and that every person that drinks is an idiot and that there’s a conspiracy among alcohol companies to take advantage of people.

  2. I’ll save the longwinded tin foil hat response

    and just say, it bugs me

  3. Apparently. Maybe you need a Zanex to calm you down.

  4. @Ovi- that’s not a valid comparison. The point here is these “ask your doctor” campaigns are subverting the authority of the doctors by encouraging the public to request their course of treatment. They’re not in the best position to make a diagnosis- they’re seeded with all these ideas about the symptoms they might be exhibiting. In reality they’re being primed with advertising. The diagnosis is something that should be solely decided by the doctor. The commercials are ridiculous – “do you feel tired in the morning? do you find it hard to get out of bed sometimes? do you get hungry when you haven’t eaten in awhile? … you might be suffering from xyz…” It’s complete BS. Layer kickbacks on top of this priming of the populace and you have the perfect storm of incentives that lead to an over-prescribed population and fat wallets for the pharmaceuticals.

    Amen to this post Strebel.

    sean

  5. Sean, I don’t see what’s wrong with the “Ask your doctor” approach. People have always asked their doctors about medicine that they heard about from friends. And doctors still have authority to their patients whether someone asks for something specific or not.

    Even if the commercials are BS, it doesn’t mean people are stupid and don’t know how to decide for themselves whether they think they need certain medicine or not. If advertising is “priming the populace” then that can be applied to anything… Is that why I like eating at Jack in the Box, because they advertise so much?

  6. Ovi- There’s not a problem with asking your doctor questions about symptoms you have but there is a problem with leading someone into believing they have symptoms in order to profit. The big word here is leading. The pharma companies try to get people to say yes to a couple of the symptoms in the commercials and then talk faster during the adverse reactions that are sometimes worse than the initial problem. It’s persuasion and just because we see it, doesn’t mean everyone else sees it. This may be a stretch but there could be a correlation between self diagnosis (from the lead of drug companies), decrease in doctor trust and an increase in ridiculous law suits. If you ask me, Josh and Sean are right in regards to the only entity benefiting is big pharma.

  7. @ovi- again you’re fixating on the wrong thing – I’m not attacking advertising in general. These commercials are harmful because all they do is actively generate hypochondriacs. It’s like the med student phenomenon on a mass scale – you see an advert about a condition enough and soon you start to internalize it and think you have it yourself. Look it up.

    The role of a patient is to report his/her symptoms impartially to the doctor. The role of the doctor is to diagnose based on the data and then prescribe the most appropriate course of treatment. These commercials are jacking up that process for profit and at the expense of diminished public health. We’ve already banned certain products from being advertised on TV when we know the outcome is harmful (cigarettes). If this effect can be proven via studies, the same should be done with pharma. I don’t know which industry is bigger between tobacco and pharma offhand but I would imagine pharma will fight like hell and use whatever justification they can think of to prevent this from happening- or at least stall it as long as tobacco did.

    sean

  8. This is a recent phenom. Pharma lobbied and got an existing ban on direct to consumer adverts lifted in 1985 but took off in 1997
    http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/8/09-040809/en/index.html

    Only two countries in the world allow this practice, USA and new zealand

  9. Sally, I agree that trying to lead someone into thinking they have certain symptoms is wrong, but I still don’t think it actually happens that easily. People are smarter than that.. What Josh posted is the way a lot of people feel which means that people do in fact realize what’s BS when they see it!

    Sean, hypochondria and the med student phenomenon (I did look it up) only happens in certain kinds of people. And if commercials created hypochondria, then maybe we should also ban med schools from doing the same thing! If anything, TV ‘news’ channels are more likely to cause hypochondria!

    Besides the fact that banning advertising can be considered a freedom of speech issue, what’s next? If tobacco commercials were banned, then alcohol would certainly make sense to go next! Then what, McDonald’s commercials because fast food is unhealthy?

  10. Ovi- I’ve done a lot of research on tactics used to persuade populations and big pharma uses many of these tactics. They have the money to test their message to influence the most amount of people. Again, because we see these tactics, we can not assume that the rest of the population has the same information to make the decision. If the message wasn’t working, they would abort their campaign.

  11. Sally, these tactics are standard advertising practices that many other product companies use. They do work to an extent, but you could also argue that the commercials work because people do genuinely want the medicine and benefit from it.

  12. I think Ovi Demetrian Jr is getting a kickback from Big Pharma for defending them

    They should have ban this a long time ago. I have not had TV in my house for going on 4 years now. We do have Netfilx and VOD so I pick what my children watch. When I seen an ad for some pill your dog can take because he gets lonely when you leave for work, that was it for me. I can’t even tell you how much better my children behave, not to mention all 3 are on the honor roll and one is saving money for college. There will always be stupid people out there and when you give them unlimited money for advertising…………………just watch the sheep flock to get to the latest product. OMG…..a pill to get rid of my ugly yellow toenail…….side affects may include heart failure, hair loss, studdering, sleeplessness, mood swings (we have pills for that if this med causes it), jitters, hives, cancer (don’t worry, we have radiation traetment for that), blurry vision, headaches, Paranoia ( we have meds for the Paranoia don’t worry) and in just 4 to 6 months you could be on your way to having thin, white, great looking toenails. SERIOUSLY?????????……………I will keep my yellow toenail, thanks.

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