Daily Archives: November 20, 2017

Glossary Building 5

There is a lot of confusing terminology out there for consumers, especially when that terminology is found in drug advertisements on TV, newspapers, magazines, etc. Besides being confusing, the advertisements tend to throw a lot of information at you. Whether it is a voice over with someone quickly going through some of the major side effects that make you wonder if the benefits are really worth all of those risks or the small print at the bottom that is never really legible.

It is important to be an informed consumer and to have the knowledge to know if we are being mislead or not. At the bottom I have terminology that may crop up when listening to an ad and terminology of things that are required that the drug advertisements have. This way, you as a potential consumer may know what type of drug advertisement is being shown or if it really does include the requirements so that it is shown on air so as to know if you are being mislead or if information is being kept from you.

  • Product Claim Advertisement: Must include the name of the drug, its risks and benefits, and at least one FDA approved use of the drug. May also include other sources as to where you could get more information the drug.
  • Help Seeking Advertisement: Describes a disease or condition, but doesn’t recommend a drug treatment. Instead, they recommend you talk to your doctor or provides a drug company’s name and phone number. They are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, but not the FDA because they are not usually considered drug ads.
  • Major Statement: Presentation of a drug’s biggest risks that have to be spoken on TV or radio.
  • Adequate Provision: “An alternative way for drug companies to provide risk information about a drug in a broadcast ad…The law allows broadcast ads to include only the most important risk information if the ads tell viewers or listeners how to get the full FDA-approved prescribing information” (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research).

References:

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Prescription Drug Advertising – Prescription Drug Advertising: Questions to Ask Yourself. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm071915.htm

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Prescription Drug Advertising – Drug Advertising: A Glossary of Terms. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm072025.htm#M

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PhotoVoice Part 1

For my project, I’ll be answering the questions –

  • How healthy is it?
  • What choice’s do I have?
  • Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?

I plan on creating a Powerpoint and taking photos of foods that are advertised as healthy. Restaurants that claim to be “healthier” such as Chipotle, Panera Bread and Subway. I’ll be recording the calories, sodium, and sugar in the meals I get as well a taking photos of the food. Doing this will show if restaurants that claim to be healthier are true or not.

Pharmaceutical Industry: Prompt 2

When clicking on the link to the Food and Drug Administration website, it immediately takes me to the introductory page of the FDA site called, “Background on Drug Advertising.” On the left hand side there are links that take you to other pages, such as: a glossary of terms, questions you should ask yourself as a consumer when watching drug advertisements, and even a sample of correctly and incorrectly made drug advertisements. These are helpful to consumers because it arms people with the knowledge to identify if a drug advertisement is misleading or not. The site does a good job of putting their information under headings that make it easy to find information that somebody may be looking for, making the FDA website user friendly for consumers.

Specifically, what consumers may find to be the most beneficial on the website is the description of the requirements that different types of drug advertisements must include in their ads. Ads like those of product claim advertisement must include, what the drug is, its major risks, and “at least one FDA approved use for the drug.” among others. People have a right to know these things before deciding to take a product.

However, consumers may still be at risk because the advertisements are not required to name all of the side effects a drug may have, just some of them. Instead, companies may choose to tell consumers where else they can find more information on their drug. There is no requirement as to where that could be. The FDA only has suggestions as to where the company could put more information, like a website, providing a toll free number, or a printed ad in a magazine. These things should be required, not suggested. Also, not all types of advertisements are required to list their side effects, like Reminder and Help-Seeking Advertisements because they don’t describe what the drug does, even if it alludes to it. Despite not listing its uses consumers may still be at risk because a person may take the drug without knowing if it is really helpful or not. It may end up harming them instead. Especially if they don’t know if that drug may clash with another drug the consumer is taking or if it really will be beneficial to the condition the consumer has.

References:

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Prescription Drug Advertising – Prescription Drug Advertising: Questions to Ask Yourself. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm071915.htm

 

Glossary Post #5

Being that I am one week away (wow it sure did come fast) from being a new parent, I have learned so much from the consumer standpoint both independently, and from this class. From this class, reading the many parent articles that were presented I learned more and more that I hadn’t even considered before. For starters, the VBAC ban. Do you know/remember what VBAC even means? Well, let me tell you. VBAC is an acronym and it stands for “vaginal birth after caesarean”. Pair that with ban and you get, vaginal birth after caesarean ban. Wow. A ban? On vaginal birth? Huh??? I didn’t realize that it would be up to the doctor to decide if a woman (the consumer in this case) would be allowed to have her second or maybe even third child vaginally or not. How fair is that? When reading in the articles about why there were bans against vaginal birth after a C-section, it still didn’t make much sense. What it mostly said was that doctors didn’t want to take the risk of a vaginal birth. The body is an incredible entity, how would anyone know of the risks if there is a ban on vaginal birth? The most natural way for birth. Luckily, there are more options than just a doctor available to new parents for birthing options. A midwife! Not my own personal choice this time, but many couples or singles (whatever is occurring) decide to go with a midwife. Typically, a woman, who is either a nurse practitioner, a nurse, or something of the sort, who works in her own dwelling and provides prenatal care and assists in the birthing of babies. This option is one that is available and it seems to be the less “harsh” way of giving birth, compared to a hospital. Many people get scared and feel restricted in a hospital, so a midwife is a better option for them. In these cases, it is possible that the consumers are more carefully considered and their wishes are more tended to. The midwife has learned her own ways to aid in the birthing and to make it calming and natural as possible. Birth is beautiful (or so I’ve been told) and to be told what you as the parents, can or cannot do, it is very frustrating. This is a time that is special! And being restricted to second and third, etc. pregnancies with a VBAC ban, it’s unfair to already have that decision made when the risk may not even be there anymore.

Parents: “a father or a mother

VBAC ban: ” a stop to vaginal birth after caesarean”

Midwife: “a person trained to assist women in childbirth.”

Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com

Glossary Post #4

This week we learned a little more about that sneaky, slightly pesky pharmaceutical companies. To those that believe they are out for our (meaning consumers) well-being, I’m sorry you are sadly mistaken. Direct to consumer advertisements are these sneaky little ads that are presented to the ignorant public, and it speaks about prescription drugs that are available and what they CAN do for you. Plus that fast-forwarded really quiet voice that goes on for the extra two minutes about all the side-effects. The problem with these ads is the simple fact that, no one knows exactly what they are saying! They could be going on about how this heart medicide COULD fix your heart palputaion, but witht that comes possible kidney stones, hair loss, weight gain, and everything else under the sun. These ads present them in such a fashion that creates a sense of trust and that taking this drug will do more good than anything else, when in reality is that drug going to actually do what it says it will do? The audience for these ads should be just the doctors that are prescribing this since they can understand the medical jargon that is being thrown our way. When I say audience I mean it in it’s literal term, the consumers who are going to be viewing the ad. But ah, here’s the issue; is that doctor going to be the consumer to a prescription drug advertisement the way that “regular” people are? I mean, the doctor isn’t going to need to watch these ads and decide “do I need to take that?” compared to a consumer who is looking to improve their health. Which is exactly why direct to consumer ads flourish and continue to keep being played for all of those with basic cable to view. The USA doesn’t seem to think that these ads are causing more harm than good, which is why they companies keep making and spending more on commercials. In some cases these ads could be saving someone’s life or opening a new door. In my opinion, more often than not, that is not the case. Learn about your prescription drugs, talk to your doctor and really understand, to avoid being a victim to these pharmaceutical companies who would say and do just about anything for business.

Pharmaceutical Companies: “commercial business licensed to research, develop, market and/or distribute drugs, most commonly in the context of healthcare.

Direct to consumer advertisements:usually refers to the marketing of pharmaceutical products but also applies to the direct marketing of medical devices, consumer diagnostics and sometimes financial services. This form of advertising is directed toward patients, rather than healthcare professionals.”

Side-effects: “any effect of a drug, chemical, or other medicine that is in addition to its intended effect, especially an effect that is harmful or unpleasant.”

Audience: “the persons reached by a book, radio or television broadcast, etc.; public”

Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.dictionary.com

Pharmaceutical Company . (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/pharmaceutical_company.htm

 

PhotoVoice part 1

My idea for this project is to create a PowerPoint. In this power point, I will use photos that I will take. I will take the photos of food before I eat them. I will mostly take photos of food that I personally will eat or popular food.  I will compare the unhealthy food photos with healthy food photos. I will go to fast food restaurant with friends and see what they order. Then I will also go to non-fast food restaurant. After doing all these, I will research how much calories each meal has and I’ll compare it. I will see the difference and I will answer the question “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?”, “How healthy IS it?”,  or “who has the upper hand and how?” I would do this project by experiencing different food and examining why are unhealthy food popular and what are the causes of this?

Pharm. Industry Prompt #1

What’s the problem with DTC ads you ask?? Well, let start off with some basic info. DTC stands for direct-to-consumer advertising. What does this mean? It means that pharmaceutical companies can advertise their product to consumers, rather than the doctors. Why would this be a problem? Well, the biggest problem to me is, these companies are giving all this information about a product that the innocent consumer, like you or me, would have no idea what they are saying. They can talk all this medical jargon and make this product out to be so great, when it reality it’s saying something like “take this and hopefully you don’t develop stomach ulcers” (adding some dramatic effect). This then leads to the next problem, patients (consumers) are then rushing out to their doctor, thinking that they have found a cure for their medical problem and are offering this solution to their doctor. This is great because the patient is being proactive about their health and are offering solutions, but the doctors are not stopping and talking to their patient about the repercussions of this medicine and are just willingly giving the medication. Why would a doctor do that? Well, it could be because the patient is asking for a suitable medication, but the medication they are specifically asking for is significantly more expensive than the generic that is available too. This gets more money into the pocket of the doctor and the pharmaceutical company. Cha-ching! Which then leads to the last point, while the conversations are being skipped, so is the learning. Patients are happily given the medication believing everything they just heard on the television ad. This creates many problems because while the patient is expecting to be “cured” or feel better, the exact opposite could be occurring. They believe the ad has given straight truth, when in reality they got half the truth. Doctors aren’t telling patients the actual facts, and now patients are left confused. This isn’t fair to the poor patient just hoping to find a solution to their medical problem. Just as a fun fact too, the USA and New Zealand are the ONLY countries to allow DTC ads.. that right there is another problem within itself.

So, how could we fix this issue? Do away with these ads! Medication is not up to the patient to decide. Doctors should be doing their due diligence and going to their patients with solutions and coming up with options together. This creates a more conversation between patients and doctors and in return makes a better environment for the doctor-patient relationship. Now, I’m not saying that patients shouldn’t/don’t have the right to come up with their own plan for their medical plan. But what I am saying is, they have the right to make an informed decision about the type of medicine that they are taking and with them discovering and deciding in the right place (ie doctors office) they are going to receive the most accurate medical options and be able to decide with the doctor. This would do away with people’s hopes of being “fixed”. This means, seeing more ads in the doctors office than on tv. Teaching doctors to give out pamphlets with medicine advice and being willing to discuss. This would also include encouragement for patients to go to doctors and get the right info about medicine rather than believing everything they see.

Glossary Building 4

After learning about Direct-to-consumer ads, I came across a few terms I decided would be useful to add to my vocabulary list. Marketing and advertising are huge industries in the United States. Our nation brings in enormous amounts of money from advertising alone. I think it is super important to be educated in certain areas to protect consumer health. A lot of times we can be drawn in by marketing schemes to believe we need specific products and items. I know for a fact, I have purchased items because an ad lead me to think I needed it. Some of the terminologies people should be familiar with are: market segmentation, mass media, and consumer advertising.

It was difficult for me to research and learn about DTC ads because I do not have a business centered mind. A lot of the words in the articles I read were challenging to understand and grasp. Which is one of the main reasons I decided to add them to my glossary. The first one, market segmentation, is a process of creating subdivisions within large similar populations. These subpopulations have similar needs, wants and demands. This practice is designed to identify the expectations of customers. Mass media, another important term to be familiar with, is any type of communication that reaches enormous amounts of people in the hopes of returning some profit. This can be seen or heard on television, in the paper, and even on the radio. Today there are numerous places media can reach mass populations. We have so many different social media platforms as well as millions of websites where advertisements can be seen. There is a very small population that never will see an advertisement. Lastly, the term consumer advertising is another imperative expression to understand. The definition of this explains that it is a marketing strategy directly aimed towards specific populations. Products and services are provided and advertised to the public that is most likely to use them. For example, diaper companies aim their ads towards new mothers who believe they need to purchase that diaper. With the knowledge of these definitions, consumers can better protect themselves from falling into the trap of believing advertisements.

 

Definitions

Market segmentation: The process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics.

Mass media: any of the means of communication, as television or newspapers, that reach very large numbers of people.

Consumer advertising: The activity of making products or services known to the public and persuading people to buy them.

The Danger of DTC Ads

DTC ads are direct-to-consumer advertisements. This means that these ads are strictly directed to the consumers that will likely be purchasing whatever is being marketed out to the public. Unfortunately, the United States is one of the TWO countries that allow this practice to be legal. New Zealand also allows DTC ads on television and in print. I think it is very clear that we should be thinking about new laws to be put in place for stricter regulations regarding these ads.

Advertisements will often lie about small details to get the attention of specific subpopulations to get them to purchase what is being advertised. An example of this is a TV commercial introduced a well-respected doctor who takes an anti-cholesterol drug called Lipitor. He claims that this drug helps to keep his heart healthy so that he could be active to participate in the things he enjoys, such as rowing a boat (much like the one in the commercial). It turns out, he was not a doctor and could not prescribe any medications legally, he also never actually rowed the boat himself in the commercial (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). Ads on television and in print must have a summary as well as a list of side effects. TV ads can legally include only the most important risks, as long as they provide how consumers can get more information. A lot of important things regarding these drugs are allowed to be left out of advertisements. This is so that consumers will go to their doctors believing they should be prescribed this specific drug without doing any research on it. If all the best data is provided to you in an ad you are not likely going to investigate more about it.

Direct to consumer advertisements are all about money and creating a large profit margin for drug companies. This industry spent almost $5 billion in the last year alone (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). The article Direct-to-consumer Advertising Under Fire claims that, “Surveys carried out in New Zealand and in the USA show that when a patient asks for a specific drug by name they receive it more often than not” (Direct-to-consumer, 2009). This clearly demonstrates further that this industry cares only about money and making a profit. In the year 2000, the industry made a revenue of $2.6 billion in sales. There was a study in 1999 which discovered that after seeing a DTC ad, one out of three people asked about a drug and one out of five asked for a prescription to a drug (Pearson, 2015-2016). It is a huge problem knowing that the main drive for DTC ads are to bring in money regardless of what happens to the health of the consumers.

We know that these ads convince consumers they need specific drugs and causes them to pressure their doctors into prescribing it to them. There is a huge fear that, “advertising drugs directly to consumers could be harmful. Both the drug companies and the doctors worry that even though consumers can’t really evaluate whether or not a drug is appropriate, they might become convinced by an ad” (Spiegel, 2009). It is extremely important to realize that even doctors are fearing for the health of consumers yet also feel pressured the prescribe them with specific drugs they request. Consumers are getting their information from a 60 second commercial that only offers the best things about the drug. These DTC ads are ruining doctor patient relationships and taking the control away from doctors to provide what they believe the be an appropriate prescription. This is something very critical to think about. The health of consumers should come first rather than money. Money is the most important thing for many parts of our government regulations, which needs to change as soon as possible.

With all this information, I think it would be very reasonable to approach the government and ask for this law to be reversed and terminated. It is also a very strange thing that the United States is one of the only two countries that allow DTC ads. Although these bring in a large amount of money for the pharmaceutical industry, I think it puts more stress on the health of consumers as well as the practice of doctors. If we continue down this road, we could be looking at more long term health effects and prescription drug addiction because these ads cause consumers to believe they are the only option for them. Reversing the legality of DTC ads or putting stricter regulations on them is extremely important for the health of our nation.

Works Cited

Direct-to-consumer advertising under fire. (2009, August). Retrieved November 20, 2017, from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/8/09-040809/en/

Pearson, R. (2015-2016). Pharmaceutical Industry & Consumers. Lecture.

Spiegel, A. (2009, October 13). Selling Sickness: How Drug Ads Changed Health Care. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113675737#mainContent

Glossary Building II

Consumer health in general is an incredibly important thing to know about –  what plastics are okay to use, how the things you do impact the environment – but one of the most important things to know about consumer health does always involve the side that we aren’t actively exposed to on the day-to-day. When we talk consumer health, we also talk about the things that lie in the background, the unseemly things like the ‘profit margin’ and why these companies are producing things. Sure, some may argue that there are some holistic, thoughtful retailers who genuinely want to make the world a better place, but that can be far and few between – when we’re discussing consumer health at length, we must look at the economic implications of what we’re doing before we dive headfirst into a discussion about the moral and more prevalent side of consumer health.

When we discuss economics, we aren’t talking about supply and demand, however, we’re talking about the economic theories of externalities and the importance of understanding motive behind particular marketing tactics. When you’re utilizing terminology, it’s not lost on the the supplier that the rhetoric they use is telling a story. People get hired to construct and create the various representations of their brand, their image, and with that, there is an importance in acknowledging that you, the consumer, are the target for these specific rhetorical techniques and tactics. By being aware of the background terminology being used in the rooms looking for this return of profit, you are better able to understand and comprehend why being informed is so important.

Return On Investment – This is essentially, when you put ‘X’ in, you better get ‘XYZ’ out. It asks what the value is of a certain campaign, a certain idea, or a certain product change – and you, the consumer, are the person who creates the return. Thus, there’s an incentive to get you to create that return – by purchasing the good or service, even if it may not be in your best interest. It can be, but isn’t always. Because of this interest in ROI, there’s typically two ways they stray – either offer high-quality service and charge a much higher price, or cut corners, depending on the market they’re looking to serve. Think Nordstrom vs Walmart; just with the application of things that can actually have affect on your health: ingredients in food, impacts on the environment, etc.

Positive Externalities – These are externalities that are positive from an action you take – things that don’t impact you but have positive effect on the world. Think vaccines and how they help people who have immunodeficiency not contract diseases, think environmentally sustainable products made of bamboo, or a purchase you make that gives to a charity. However, due to people not noticing these externalities, people tend to underproduce and under procure the goods with positive externalities.

Negative Externalities – This is the same thing as positive externalities, just flipped on it’s head. If you don’t get a vaccine, that’s a negative externality – environmental practices that pollute, or buying from a company that uses unethical labor. Not saying I’m perfect, but recognizing the negative externalities is important. These goods tend to be overproduced, however, due to the effects not affecting the party producing the good.