TV Plus Rx Equals Bad Medicine

 TV Plus Rx Equals Bad Medicine

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is holding hearings on television commercials for prescription drugs. Why? Dr. Robert Jarvik appears in Pfizer’s Lipitor television commercials and doesn’t have a license to practice medicine, so he can’t prescribe medications.

What nonsense. He doesn’t say he prescribes the stuff; he says he takes it. Sally Field is on TV shilling for osteoporosis medicines by Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. She says she takes the meds; she doesn’t say she prescribes them. Film star Kathleen Turner gets promotional fees from Immunex and Wyeth; Olympia Dukakis and Rob Lowe get similar fees; Lauren Bacall gets one from Visudyne and she doesn’t even take the stuff.

The real problem is not celebrities endorsing drugs. The problem is pharmaceutical companies producing television and print advertising that interferes with the doctor/patient relationship and drug corporations behaving as if their powerful drugs were just another consumer choice.

It is absurd to pretend the lavish TV clips of flowers and butterflies provide consumers with information to make better choices. If anything, the appeal of these productions is to the unconscious. Studies consistently find the informational content of these ads low and misleading. The average viewer is subjected to 16 hours a year of drug commericials; on shows for old people (like the evening news) it seems more like 16 hours a night.

 So let’s give our lawmakers a physical. Legislators: who has the guts to stand up to big Pharma? Don’t look to FDA for guidance: FDA doesn’t take bribes campaign contributions. It just takes money from big pharmaceutical companies to pay employees to test the products created by those big pharmaceutical companies. The FCC? Guts? Please.

Prescription drug advertising was banned from broadcasting and general-circulation periodicals until the last decade  — renew this ban. This will also make prescription medicines look less attractive to the children who now abuse them.

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One Response to “TV Plus Rx Equals Bad Medicine”

  1. Drugs on TV « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] companies spend hundreds of millions to run TV drug ads that earn billions, so we always assumed their motive was pure greed. Now we learn it’s fear. According to Big Pharma’s Ian […]

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