- Posted Mar 14, 2017 at 10:06 PM PDT
Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars each year advertising prescription drugs on television, according to Nielsen data. Billions more are spent on digital ads. Anyone who watches TV or reads magazines can probably name at least a few prescription drugs. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries where direct-to-consumer ads of prescription drugs is legal. The ads are regulated by the FDA to ensure that they are not false or misleading (hence all the warnings about side effects). While it’s important for consumers to have a good understanding of their health and treatment options available, opponents say that drug ads “promote drugs before long-term safety profiles can be known, medicalize and stigmatize normal conditions and bodily functions like wrinkles and low testosterone, waste valuable medical appointment time, and have led to our society’s overuse of prescription drugs.” Drug ads also present ethical concerns, since doctors can receive more compensation for prescribing certain drugs and treatments over others. The American Medical Association is just one group calling for a ban on drug ads. Proponents of consumer ads marketing prescription drugs contend that arming consumers with information about drugs and treatments is a good thing, and ads encourage people to go to their doctors and seek advice. Plus, they say, revenue from selling the drugs helps to fund research and development of other medications. What do you think about direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads? Share your thoughts in the comments.