The effects of drugs after watching a few prescription drug commercials, you may find yourself suffering from an overdose of suspiciously high prices, headaches, and even boredom. Every day, the pharmaceutical industry blurs the line between the idiotic and the information in their advertisements. It is true that these drugs have saved lives, but it is also true that they come with unwanted drug side effects. Not all drugs are safe and this is important to remember.
“At this age, you are not the kind of person who gives up. You know how to make things happen now. Why are you letting erectile dysfunction stop you? Sit down and have a discussion about Viagra with your doctor. Drug side effects include abnormal vision, upset stomach, flushing, and headaches.”
Everyone has seen these commercials. They run on television all the time
Back in 1997, the Food and Drug Administration began to allow these direct to the consumer ads because of a series of decisions by the courts that found the commercials to be a form of speech that must be protected. Since then, they have been rapidly rolled out. Just in the past couple of years, the budgets for these commercials and ads have risen by $4.5 billion, a 30% increase.
These advertisements introduce patients to so-called chronic diseases such as hypotrichosis (exceptionally thin eyelashes) and restless leg syndrome and scare consumers into demanding that their doctors prescribe these brand name drugs. It financially profitable for the drug manufacturers but it is morally cheap.
The American Medical Association has decided that they are fighting back
Matching a stance held for many years by the California Medical Association, this national trade group of physicians has called for a ban on consumer drug advertisements at their meeting last month. They have a single but compelling reason: The cost of health care is rising rapidly because patients do not want the inexpensive and effective generic drugs, but are demanding that they get the patented and expensive drugs on the television commercials.
Of course, the pharmaceutical industry has a different opinion on this matter. PhRMA, their trade group, claims that drug commercials save lives because the ads are designed to inform the consumer and increase their awareness about drug side effects.
That drug company diagnosis does not make sense to us. The US does not lead the world in the health of its citizens and we take a lot of medicine, but we are one of only two countries in the entire world that allows this type of advertisements.
Big Pharma is not known for their sense of altruism
According to the Altarum Institute Center for Sustainable Health Spending, there has been almost a 5% increase just this year in the price of both brand-name and generic drugs. Pfizer, the industry leader, recently made a decision to avoid paying taxes in the United States by merging with an overseas rival and relocating its headquarters out of the country. Does it surprise you to know that the cost of these advertisements can be deducted from the taxes that drug companies are supposed to pay?
We hope that the American Medical Association will continue to work to bring the price of drugs down to a more reasonable level. The prescription that we really need is one for greater comparison, even though it may prove to be impossible to pull Viagra ads from the airways and magazines.
The Surprising Results When You Look At Drug Side Effects
Not all drug side effects are bad for you. In fact, some are exactly what the doctor ordered. For example, in 1992 a drug called finasteride was introduced to deal with enlarged prostate glands that were not cancerous. It is now marketed as Propecia because it was found to regrow hair. Low doses of finasteride are now used by men all over the world to treat male pattern baldness. Interestingly, another drug, minoxidil, was found to grow hair although it was originally developed as an oral medicine for high blood pressure. It is now an over-the-counter remedy for baldness and is sold as a foam or topical lotion.