Should Drug Companies Be Able to Advertise Prescription Drugs on TV?

Question by Rupert Roo: Should drug companies be able to advertise prescription drugs on TV?
This is a relatively new thing that wasn’t here 15 or so yrs ago. For some meds, like Viagra, it is a non-necessary drug. But I see a lot of blood pressure and cholesterol drugs advertised. Also they are advertising heart stents??? Those are usually placed by interventional cardiologists (highly specialized)! I agree in a free market, but I think that this advertising could be potentially hurtful to the health care system as a whole as well as specific patients individually. Please tell me what you think, or does John P. Consumer not really care about this? Also, what changed that this is a new thing now, is it just an influx of new drugs or did someone in marketing get a bright idea? Thanks.
Dude, Gardisil DOES in fact immunize against cervical cancer! The vast majority, and I don’t know if it’s 70 or 95%, but something like that is caused by these 2 strains of HPV that are covered by Gardisil. It’s a quadravalent vaccine that covers 4 strains; the 2 that cause mostly all warts and the 2 that cause mostly all cervical cancer. It’s a vaccine that DOES prevent cancer.
I forgot, that I think the only thing profit driven about Gardisil is that the vaccine costs from $ 200-400 and the cost for chemo and hosptial stay if you have cervical cancer and need an ICU bed can be enormous (more than 100k easy).

Best answer:

Answer by Lala
I think it is good for a consumer to be aware of their choices through advertising/marketing. For example, there is a vaccine one can take for cervical cancer (I think) that I would not have known about without their marketing. In this sense, I think it can save lives. Also, marketing may bring awareness to a consumer in regard to symptoms they had not paid attention to. Maybe a commercial on tv about a specific product caused an individual to visit the dr regarding the symptoms they had learned about on tv. The drugs advertised can not be taken without a prescription, so fortunately someone will not take the drugs unless they need them. The advertising just helps to create awareness among treatments available for symptoms.

Answer by pure_genius
Marketing of prescription drugs has some benefits, but it is outweighed by the potential for abuse.

The first answerer highlights the problem very well. Gardasil is a HPV vaccine. It does not immunize against cervical cancer, but the advertising is done in a manner that makes it easy to think so. Some of the ads call it a HPV vaccine and cervical cancer vaccine.

Ultimately that is the problem with this form of advertising. Misinformation combined with ethically challenged physicians means some patients get drugs they don’t need. Good doctors will inform their patients upon request of new treatments that might be helpful. Patients asking for drugs they know little about is not a good thing.

If the health care industry had more integrity and was not so profit driven, it might be sensible to promote chemical treatments on television.

I don’t think the answer is so clear when it comes to the promotion of medical procedures. I have concerns about the way gastric-bypass surgery and cosmetic procedures are advertised. Other procedures such as cardiac operations and joint replacements are far less likely to be done on unsuitable candidates.

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