U.S. Doctors Call For An End To Consumer Drug Advertising

November 23, 2015 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
U.S. Doctors Call For An End To Consumer Drug Advertising

Across the United States, drug advertisements targeted to consumers are causing a number of problems for doctors and patients alike. Prescription drug advertisements, which are generally geared toward educating patients about uncommon diseases or illnesses, are often designed to suggest a patient is suffering from a condition he or she does not have. Additionally, they are often designed to tout the benefits of a medication while downplaying its risks or potentially deadly side effects. Therefore, doctors are concerned these advertisements may cause patients to demand costly and possibly unneeded treatments. They are also concerned about an increase in dangerous medication lawsuits.

Problems With Drug Advertising

Consumer-directed pharmaceutical advertising creates several problems, according to the American Medical Association. To compensate for the exorbitant cost of advertising, prescription drug prices are grossly over-inflated, and patients have to bear the brunt of these expenses. Also, targeting consumers leads to higher patient demand for these expensive drugs, even though they may not be necessary or appropriate for the patients treatment. Family physician Wanda Filer recalls being contacted by a patient about a condition called O.I.C., Opioid-induced Constipation, which was a condition she hadn't heard of before. An advertisement about this condition, and a drug made to treat it, caused the patient to worry about O.I.C.a condition the patient didn't even have.

Drug Advertising Statistics

The cost of advertising among drug manufacturers, which has increased thirty percent over the last two years, now totals $4.5 billion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a survey which showed the majority of Americans, fifty-two percent, feel consumer-directed drug advertisements do not include enough critical information about drug risks. However, the advertisements portrayal of happy, healthy people enjoying their lives made most Americans dismiss the lack of risk-related information and ask their physician about a medication they had seen advertised on TV.

Drug Advertising A Political Issue?

Currently, only the United States and New Zealand allow consumer-directed prescription drug advertising. The United States Supreme Court has ruled these advertisements cannot be banned entirely because of commercial speech protections granted by the U.S. Constitution. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for new regulations governing pharmaceutical advertising targeted toward consumers. Clinton's plan will impose measures to prevent price gouging of drugs and stop drug manufacturers from deducting consumer-related advertising expenses on their taxes. The law offices of O'Connor, Acciani & Levy are committed to fighting for your rights; if you have been the victim of a defective drug, let our skilled injury attorneys fight for you.