My problem with daytime television and, more and more, the evening news, is the astonishing amount of direct to consumer advertising done my pharmaceutical companies. I can't prescribe drugs, most of the people I know can't prescribe drugs and I certainly hope that the people who can prescribe drugs aren't doing it based on an ad they saw on television, read in a magazine or heard on the radio.
The thing that disturbs me the most about pharmaceutical ads isn't the long list of worrisome side effects. I actually kind of enjoy those. The most disturbing thing for me and for everyone should be the amount of money spent on those ads which could be spent on research and development and, more importantly, lowering prices to consumers. Here are some stats:
- the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising; and
- it is estimated that the pharmaceutical companies pay $4 billion annually on direct to consumer marketing. That's billion...with a b.