After looking over the FDA’s website, I thought the tab “Questions to Ask Yourself” was the most consumer friendly. This section has the consumer look at themselves and what their own needs are, including why they think they may have a certain condition. (Which I noted in my first post). This has the consumer ask questions rather than blindly follow an ad. This also gets them thinking about the most important factor: themselves as the consumer. However, consumers could still be at risk due to the fact that most will likely not check the FDA website. The public is not as well informed as those in the public health field or classroom. If each commercial had a warning and informative ending asking the consumer to evaluate their needs before seeing a doctor, perhaps less would simply go get a drug prescribed.
In relation to Direct-to-Consumer ads, my top 3 talking points would be:
- Actors in commercials can be just that, actors. It seems morally wrong to have people with no medical training that do not hold the ability to prescribe medications to endorse them to the masses. These actors may have no actual knowledge of the effects of the drug they are promoting, I feel that drugs should only be advertised by people who can in good conscience understand the consequences of taking them.
- These more expensive brand name drugs that may not even be more beneficial to the patient, are being asked for directly due to commercials. Patients do not always know what is best for them, but a doctor is likely to prescribe something that they specifically ask for. Rather than the doctor evaluate their needs prior to the patient asking for a drug to be prescribed to them. A generic drug may actually work better for a patient, since every patient is different. This simply fuels the pharmaceutical industry and allows companies to sway patients towards paying for their drug rather than having the patients’ best interest at heart.
- My final talking point, is the quote from the article saying “Encouraging patients to seek medical attention that may help them manage their conditions and avoid unneeded hospital stays or surgeries.” Pushing drugs on the public via commercials is not encouraging them to see their doctor. This may actually cause them to self-diagnose because they feel they have symptoms relating to a disease they may not actually have.
I think steps towards helping the consumer and the public would be to eliminate these ads, or at least have actual medical doctors endorse the drugs. Those with proper training can understand the side effects and the physiology behind certain diseases and the drugs used to treat them. Doctors should also be encouraged to inform their patients who come asking for these big name drugs about alternatives and generics.
For my PhotoVoice project I will be answering the following questions:
- How Healthy IS it?
- Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?
- Who’s selling me what?
- What choice(s) do I have?
I will create a powerpoint to demonstrate the choices people have when eating. I will compare the prices, nutrition information, and portions of food that can be bought in fast food places and restaurants and food that I will in turn make at home and take pictures of. I will show the pros and cons to both options so that we can better understand why we choose the food that we do.
For my photovoice, I’m planning on addressing the dairy industry at length and how people are led to believe it is healthy. I also plan on addressing the marketing schemes and how governmental intervention can perpetuate this myth.
I plan on tackling these questions:
“Why is it so difficult to be healthy/unhealthy?”
“How healthy IS is?”
“Who’s selling me what?”