Friday, November 20, 2015

American Medical Association calls for ban on the advertisement of prescription drugs.

Courtesy of Reuters:  

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for a ban on advertising prescription drugs and medical devices directly to consumers, saying the ads drive patients to demand expensive treatments over less costly ones that are also effective. 

The influential doctors' group said the new policy reflects physicians' concerns that marketing spending on a proliferation of advertising is helping to drive up drug prices. The group voted at its annual meeting in Atlanta to support a ban. 

"Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when those drugs may not be appropriate," AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice Harris said in a statement. 

The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

Welcome to one of Gryphen's biggest pet peeves.

I have long argued against these commercials, because they actually convince perfectly healthy people that they are ill and that they need drugs which they simply do not need.

I work with a population highly susceptible to suggestion, and many of them have complained of symptoms that they do not have, and have requested access to prescription medications that not only don't they need but are also potentially hazardous for them to take.

I know we rely on doctors to be the voice of reason for their patients, but the sad truth is that these companies send incredibly attractive drug reps to doctor's offices all over the country with offers of free seminars in exotic locations, golf trips, and a number of other perks to persuade them to push their product, and let's face it not all doctors can resist the temptation.

So yes we most certainly should ban these advertisements. 

However the other sad truth is that these companies own certain politicians outright and there is no way they will allow anybody to interfere in the billions of dollars in profit that their benefactors bring in each year.


  1. Anonymous2:14 AM

    Here in Australia we prefer not to have advertising agencies do the prescribing, we prefer doctors to do it.

    1. Anonymous4:57 AM

      Exactly 2:14. I would think it would drive doctors crazy too sorting through any misunderstanding or misinterpretations.

      The worst part is seeing those cartoon bladders and giant pills walking hand in hand into the doctor's office, or playing on the beach with the patients


    2. And here it the Great White North we disallowed pharma ads some 20 years ago. But every ad I see on U.S. television always includes "Ask your doctor if _______ can work for you". So no wonder docs are finally getting fed up with it!

  2. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Well, it's about time. I, for one am tired of these commercials, they are distasteful. If a patient is in need of medication, the doctor has the information about that, there is no need for drug companies to push drugs on the public. And this is exactly what they are like, drug pushers.
    So, I think it is appropriate for these commercials to be banned.

    Cigarette commercials were banned many years ago, and I was very happy about that.

  3. Anonymous3:36 AM

    About f'ng add hospitals to the list!

    1. Anonymous12:28 PM

      Absolutely! Our hospitals are crying that the state is cutting reimbursements/support. OK, so stop paying your CEO 20 times what the nurses who do the work make, and stop paying for prime time adds on the TEE VEE machine- and get rid of those unsightly billboards while you're at it.

  4. Anonymous3:40 AM

    I agree Gryphen...this is a huge problem and a perfect example of how we are being manipulated and used by large corporations.

  5. Anonymous3:59 AM

    The drug companies prefer to market directly to doctors anyway, more bang for their buck.

    1. Anonymous11:08 AM

      Exactly. And that needs to stop.

    2. Anonymous4:58 AM

      If marketing to doctors stop, how do they learn about new drugs and treatments that improve or save lives? Most of the highly distasteful practices of trips, dinners, etc. are now banned by the FDA. A rep showing up with donuts is discouraged. Times have changed.

  6. Anonymous3:59 AM

    It is long overdue.

  7. Anonymous4:07 AM

    I am so glad you mansplained this to all of the dummies who would never understand this.

    -a Pharmacist

  8. Anonymous4:18 AM

    I can think of only one benefit to direct-to-consumer advertising: The ads warn of the side-effects of the drug which doctors often neglect to tell the patient about. That allows the patient to make an informed decision about their own healthcare. I'm not sure that outweighs the negatives, however.

    1. Leland4:35 AM

      The doctor may write the prescription. The law stipulates a paper be included with each prescription explaining all the ups and downs of the drug. But BEFORE it is filled, it is easy to ask the pharmacist for that same information. EVERY pharmacist I have ever dealt with is extremely pleased to take the time and answer questions for his customers. And they are - at least a lot of times - far more knowledgeable about the stuff than most doctors.

      Unfortunately, that is something rather like a lot of patients I know. They nearly never bother with second opinions when it comes to major diagnoses and simply take the doctor's word for it - as if they are omniscient.

      What do I mean? Very few people actually will bother asking - or for that matter, even glance at the supplied drug information!


    2. Anonymous5:38 AM

      When you get a prescription filled, the warnings and side effects are given to you at the time. So, there is NO need for these drug pushing commercials.

    3. Anonymous5:43 AM

      You get all that information about side effects, and warnings with your prescription. Just take the time to read it all.
      Prescriptions come with this information. BUT if you still have questions, the pharmacists will talk to you and answers all your questions.

    4. True. But they really don't go far enough.

      My doctor put me on Simvastatin and I researched side effects that were only anecdotal but which I was experiencing. He then switched me to Lipator (because the Simvastatin wasn't really working) and I read that because I am post menopausal I had a 66% chance of becoming diabetic. I stopped taking it and when I told him he said "I didn't realize it was that high, only 40%". And I said 40%? That's still too high and you didn't even tell me.

      Plus no guarantees that lowering my cholesterol will help prevent a heart attack as I only have a 4% chance of a heart attack.

      For that 4% chance he was willing for me to have a 66% chance of becoming a diabetic.

      Yeah, I do research on all of the meds my doctor prescribes.

      This same quack told me my blood pressure had worsened and put me on a second medication but wouldn't tell me what it was.

      Not only did I find out what it was, I found out I don't meet the criteria for high blood pressure. I went off my meds and took my blood pressure daily, then weekly, and when I went to see my dermatologist her nurse took my blood pressure and it was well within norms.

      I then told my doctor what I did.

      And then I switched doctors.

  9. Anonymous5:16 AM

    When I hear all the possible side effects, I always wonder who in the hell would want to take that drug. I would be very happy to no longer have Cialis and Viagra ads playing constantly during sports programs. The line " if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours, call your doctor" makes me laugh though. Remembering a comedian who said "if I have an erection lasting that long, I won't call my doctor..I am going to be calling all my friends to brag".
    I agree with post about the fact that this bill will never go anywhere because of the deep deep pockets of drug lobbyists.

    1. Anonymous5:45 AM

      Anonymous 5:16 AM
      When I hear all the possible side effects, I always wonder who in the hell would want to take that drug.
      Exactly. Sometimes the side effects of the drug scare you more than the medical issue you are dealing with.

    2. Anonymous6:14 AM

      Orrin Hatch (R Utah) is well paid by the pharma industry. His son is a lobbyist in DC for big pharma. Those erectile dysfunction ads are played way too often, it is disgusting. Haven't that made enough money from those medications by now?

    3. Anonymous7:14 AM

      Sometimes a side effect is DEATH!!!

      It's like a SNL parody.

    4. Anonymous8:22 AM

      Exactly! Every time I see one of those commercials I'm thinking "The side effects sound worse than the actual disease!"

    5. Anonymous8:24 AM

      The incessant Viagra ads reminds me of a story I read on Facebook.

      Where a pastor asked the kids in the church what they know about the resurrection. And a kid said "If your resurrection lasts more than four hours you should call a doctor"

    6. Anonymous12:30 PM

      Those Viagra/Cialis ads are bad but the one that sets me off is the zombie ophthalmologist in the glass cathedral where everyone moves in slow motion.

  10. Anonymous5:23 AM

    The Medical, Pharmaceutical, Industrial Complex. Health care is a business, a for profit business. A growing sicker population but a very healthy bottom line. It's hard to swallow this bitter reality pill.

    RJ in BBistan

  11. Anonymous6:13 AM

    Oh I don't know. Bristol has had several peers sell lies about her. And then there's Sadie who is a jealous bitch and that's has always been known. Sadies cousins ex wife, who's been wronged by Sadie, and people like Brittany can attest to that. They all were the ones who joked 5 years ago Bristol should hire a hit man. But Bristol kept praying sacked sanity hoping Levi would do something.

    1. Anonymous6:25 AM

      6:13 Are you on your meds this morning?

    2. Anonymous7:21 AM

      "Sadie was in Florida not too long ago, Alicia. Are you sore that she didn't bring her cousin's ex wife's former bowling partner's daughter in law's grandmother's uncle to visit you, you joy-killing psychopath?

      Bristol Palin hates you. And that makes me smile.

    3. Anonymous7:24 AM

      I think you're right, Alicia, I have no doubt that Bristol is still to this very day "praying sacked sanity" because she has never shown sanity in the sack and always seems to be getting pregnant with unwanted children.

    4. Anonymous7:27 AM

      Well folks, sanity has left the building...

    5. Anonymous7:29 AM

      6:13 You ridiculous stupid ass and jealous bitch!
      What the hell is wrong with you? You don't know a fucking thing about any of the people you slander.

      Somebody's ex wife's cousin's aunt's brother-in-law's, s
      sister's brother's third cousins friend said what?

      Dopey, stop stalking people that you don't know, have never known and will never know and spreading lies and making shit up. Don't you get tired of embarrassing yourself and everybody in your family with your lying?

      You don't know Bristol. You stalk her. You are sick. Get a life maggot. If you did know her, you would know those, ummm, people, do not pray or know a damn thing about the bibull. Anyone can say, look at me, I'm an xtian. It does not make them an xtian. It makes them repulsive. Using god is a sin. Isn't there some sort of gawd law about lying?

      Jesus christ! Grow the fuck up. Seriously, how old are you, 10?

    6. Anonymous8:35 AM

      Why do people let this "Alicia" person get to them so much? I don't care for the dumb ramblings on "the kid" so I just skip over those posts. Some if you people are wound up really tight.

    7. Anonymous9:18 AM

      Chill out @7:29. You're gonna have a heart attack in your twenties.

  12. It's easy these days for a lone commercial break (especially in daytime) to feature both a hard sell for whatever the flashy snob-appeal drug of the moment is, followed one or two ads later by another for a law firm inviting you to get in on a class action settlement against whatever was the cache drug five years earlier. (Testosterone preparations, for instance.)

    And speaking of Viagra and Cialis, have you noticed the men in them are always specimens you wouldn't mind fucking? With the exception of an occasional token black, they are to an individual, Caucasian rugged hunks who are otherwise totally physically fit, and have only added some silver to their temples. They're always clearly happily married (heterosexually only - don't be silly), vaguely athletically inclined still, and obviously financially secure. They have no other telling maladies: they're never missing teeth, never bald and never looking like Chris Christie stuffed in a baseball uniform.

    1. Anonymous12:31 PM

      And they're with women half their age

    2. Anonymous12:53 PM

      I went to see my doctor one day and I told her I'd heard about a medicine on TV that I wanted to ask her about...

      "I forgot the name but it may cause loss of feeling in the hands and feet, ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, arrhythmia, uncontrolled weight loss, urinary tract infections, incontinence... (and some other awful stuff)

      The ad said to ask you if this medicine was right for me."

      She got the joke...

  13. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Believe it or not, Tennessee tried to completely ban the sale of pseudoephedrine (the base ingredient of meth), but Big Pharma said "How are we supposed to get our $50M from the Tennesseans with 'allergies'?"

    1. Anonymous10:51 AM

      FYI 7:20am, "allergies" are a real thing. Banning pseudoephedrine is not going to keep methamphetamine out of that hillbilly state. Pseudoephedrine does have a legitimate medical use, unlike "cannabis".

    2. And those of us with REAL allergies rely upon generic pseudoephedrine and chlorpheniramine to fight back against the symptoms. Why should I pay through the (blocked) nose for the latest pill when these generics work?

      I'm pissed because I have to jump through all kinds of hoops, including scanned ID, by a government that counts every pill I take, when hillbillies can obviously make or buy them by the truckload.

      Speaking as a disabled senior, these drug dealers with suitcases full of stimulants and painkillers and whatever are making life more difficult for people with medical issues. Lazy law-makers sweep us all into one basket when it would be obvious to deal with those who break current laws against illegal drug sales (50 million dollars?) and stop harassing people who are already sick.

  14. Anonymous7:50 AM

    About damn time!

  15. Anonymous8:00 AM

    The latest issue of Cooking Light magazine has 14 drug advertizements. FOURTEEN!

  16. Anonymous10:34 AM

    My favorite part of the disclaimer is "tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems". Hello? Isn't your doctor the one that should tell YOU if you have liver or kidney problems?

    1. Anonymous11:32 AM

      You have a point but you'd be surprised at how many people fail, for example, to tell their ENT guy what their cardiologist has told them.

  17. Anonymous11:07 AM

    It really wasn't that long ago that direct-to-consumer ads for pharmaceuticals WERE illegal. I have no problem with trying to reinstate the ban, but the AMA needs to pair its advocacy on this issue with support for a ban on pharmaceutical reps offering doctors lavish trips, golfing excursions and too many other kinds of bling. Consumers aren't the only people who can be swayed, and money talks.

    1. Exactly.

      If we can't clean up politics we can at least try to clean up the for profit medical profession.

  18. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Try answering a 10-year old boy's questions about the Viagra/Cialis ads.

  19. Anonymous12:12 PM

    When all teevee ads are banned for DRUGS, how are we to know what we should buy on the street? {sarcasm}

    The docs have all those attractive sales reps to tell them what drugs they should be pushing this month. Along with lots of expensive incentives to do so. Do the docs really have time to read and absorb all the brochures before pushing the drugs? "HELLS to the NO!" They take the word of non-medically trained SALESMEN(women).

    If people are stupid enough to plead for drugs they see on teevee, then maybe the gene pool is better off without them. It is up to each of us to research before putting anything in our bodies. Educate yourself about your illnesses and the drugs used for them. THEN decide what you will and will not take.

    It seems these days drugs are designed to cause serious side effects so you need another drug to deal with the side effect. Ad infinitum...

    Doctors are not gods. YOU are responsible for your own well-being.

  20. I'm for it.

    They are annoying as hell and totally USELESS.

    My doctor prescribes my meds. I have no say in what brand of prescription drugs he chooses.

    So these ads are basically only directed at the doctors who make that decision. Such a small percentage of TV viewers. Plus they get all of this information through their professional contacts. They don't need TV commercials to make an informed decision.

    And these advertisements are hardly informing.

    Except the annoying lawyer speak at the end about cautions and side effect.

    Yeah, get rid of them. The sooner the better.

  21. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Most nights, I watch TV while I'm eating dinner.

    I would dearly LOVE to get through ONE meal without hearing about erectile dysfunction and toenail fungus.

  22. Anonymous5:44 PM

    I did marketing for a prescription benefits management company about 10 years ago, and here is one stat that always stuck with me: Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately $13,000 PER DOCTOR to promote their drugs.

    And, today, some of the big PHARMA companies spend nearly twice as much on marketing than they do on research & development.

  23. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Like many of you, I watch the drug commercials wondering how it is that after hearing the list of side-effects, people will still take the drugs. It seems as though people are totally in denial about how those side-effects came to be known side effects. It also makes it clear that the revolving door between the FDA and Big Pharma has redefined drug safety - it no longer means safe for consumers, but rather that the drug is not likely to maim or kill enough people to make it unprofitable, i.e., unsafe, for the manufacturer.

  24. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Read Strong Medicine by Alex Hailey. It is fiction but much is based on fact and it will scare the bejeebus out of you.


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