Advertising prescription medications directly to consumers
Needed to sustain lifeOK, but isn't all totally goodProbably helps, might harmMight help, sometimes harms, Can help, can harmCan harm livesHarms lives
WaterSodaAspirinAlcoholPrescription medicationsTobaccoHeroin

On the right end of the continuum are prescription medications. What are the characteristics of prescription medications?
  • They are not for everyone (you ought to need them)
  • They can be dangerous
  • They can be very dangerous, and yet in specific circumstances might be worth it.
  • The average consumer in the United States is not equipped with the medical and technical knowledge to judge for themselves if the need is present, and if the situation is right.
  • A Doctor (someone certifiably more trained to make such a judgment must go on-record that an appropriate is to prescribe the medication)
  • Management of prescription medications must as a safety precaution be carefully controlled. Specific measures must be taken, for example the certification of people allowed to manage and dispense prescription medication.
  • Mechanisms are required to track prescriptions, who writes them, in what quantity and who takes them and in what quantity.

It is about something that can be beneficial, is often dangerous and as a result we are very careful about who has the ability to offer prescriptions.

So, why in the name of all things reasonable so we allow drug companies to market prescription medications directly to consumers?

These advertisements are transparent efforts to usurp the reasonable process of a Doctor diagnosing an illness and upon consideration of the options, prescribing the medication. Instead, consumers are being enticed, presumably to go pressure a Doctor to prescribe the medication.

Some reasons this is improper
  • It puts pressure on Doctors to prescribe medication that might not be in the patient's best interest
  • It (apparently) increases the total demand for these medications. Demand driven by advertising rather than by need.
  • These are not aspirin being advertised, they are the newest designer medications that have been through considerable research, design, engineering, testing and marketing processes. It makes them expensive. The cost of the use of these medications is born not by the Doctor, not by the Consumer, but by our combined medical systems. Do you wonder why medical costs continue to rise?

The conundrum: The drug companies and media outlets benefit, the public loses.

Don't get me wrong. This cycle of R&D, testing and delivery has produced many marvelous medications. A considerable part of the long lives we can live in this country are because of R&D and profitable business. We are wildly willing to use whatever promise we might see, and willing to sue the living lawyers out of the company if there is a problem. The company that invests needs to earn a profitable return on the investment.

However, if a guy needs an ED solution, do you really think advertising is necessary to make the connection between consumer need and medical solution? When medication comes along that safely causes weight loss, or cures baldness, there will be no need for advertising, the medial will cover this important news for free - it is called news coverage.

When something is advertised for 15 seconds and then a fast-talking voice-over spends 15 seconds telling you about all the possible side effects, including headache, fever, nausea, heart, liver, kidney, mental and intestinal disruption or even death, we ought to have read warning labels flashing in our minds

"If it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true"

And, finally, in the name of reasonable taste and even a slight sense of responsibility, let's cut this stuff out during prime-time. Our children do not need to see commercials about "what to do when the moment comes". They grow up fast enough as it is.

What can we do - write to the drug companies and tell them they lose credibility every time they run one of these ads.

On the other hand, if it is illegal for me to get the drugs on my own, it should not be legal to advertise them on TV either.