One thing I’ve learned during this class is most definitely about the development of certain aspects of industries – one that piqued my interest, especially from a rhetorical and explorative perspective, was the pharmaceutical industry. It’s an industry that all walks of life tend to take beef with, and just so happens to be an industry that lines lawmakers pockets rather well. This doesn’t exactly align with consumer preferences, but at the end of the day, it’s incredibly interesting to see the alignment of certain consumer choices and what they may or may not know about the drugs they’re consuming.
All drug pamphlets come with information about risks and other things, but it’s interesting that what they’re required to present in their advertising and in their general sales pitches (don’t get me started on the pharmaceutical industry’s propensity for sending attractive young women to doctors offices, armed with a lunch and a set of plane tickets).
Those who are targeted by the industry are also interesting – it shows aggressive marketing tactics, reflecting people’s desires and hopes. Especially when it comes to drugs that are for those who are considered to have mental illness – the vague portrayals of life with a mental illness (depression, for example) may make people worried they’re experiencing what the ad is describing, potentially driving up sales.
I’ve decided to drudge up some buzzwords used in marketing pharma circles, so you are fully aware of the language that goes with a particular thought:
Patient Empowerment – A buzzword used to justify the actual marketing of prescription medications. This essentially says that patients should have autonomy and a say on their medical care – which in theory, sounds nice, but can be detrimental… because they’re not doctors and they’re being ’empowered’ by an industry that makes money off of people consuming their product.
Beyond The Pill – Another buzzword, meant to expand beyond just the pharmaceutical, but also including various softwares and external services that may or may not be conducive to a good patient experience. While federally set up, and not necessarily an industry example, but the ipledge program, for accutane prescriptions in the US, could be considered ‘beyond the pill’ (pills, plural, in the case of women of childbearing capability. It’s interesting stuff to read into, if you’re interested.)
Breakthrough Therapy – A pharma company may brand something as a breakthrough therapy – it makes you think cancer’s been cured and insulin shots have been turned into something as easy to remember as a birth control pill. But no, breakthrough therapy is a term used that may represent the first or most innovative thing of a certain kind, but generally, it’s just that – a marketing ploy.