Direct-To-Consumer ads. Have you ever seen those ads on TV all about the great medications available to help alleviate and protect against illnesses? Those ads that show people in pain and distress, until they meet with their Dr. who prescribes a magical medication that miraculously fixes all their problems? These commercials give the consumer the idea that their problems could be solved by checking out this new drug. This is what pulls people in. Who doesn’t want to be as happy as those people at the end of those commercials, right? So what is the problem with DTC ads?
After speaking to a close friend and roommate about DTC ads, we came to a few specific thought points. One point brought up in our conversation was the impact it has on consumers. These commercials may be guilty of pushing consumers to buy these drug products. Although these drugs be helpful to certain medical conditions, not all of them are necessary and not all are right for everyone. Like all other product commercials, the goal is to urge people to want to buy it. The question is whether this is right for drug companies to take part in.
Another point brought up similar to the last was the pressure doctors might feel to prescribe medication. In some DTC ads they will recommend that the patient ask their medical provider to prescribe them a specific medication. At times doctors are asked by drug companies to advertise and recommend new drugs on the market. This could cause doctors to worry more about selling these medication, instead of being concerned with what is necessary for their patients health. This raises the question of the motives behind DTC ads and drug companies. Is there concern improving illnesses and medical conditions or is it the price tag.
I feel that not all DTC ads are terrible. From a public health stand point it is important that people can advocate for their own health. Our goal is to raise health related self-efficacy in our communities and guide people to where they can seek quality and efficient care. An FDA policy requires DTC ads to state at the end of their ads the most important side effects. They also state where they can find the medication and whether or not they should consult with their doctor before choosing it. Although these ads push further consumerism in the drug industry, they are making strides for precaution by warning people or potential risks and how to protect against possible harm. These policies are great, but i believe in order to create a better balanced system we must continue implementing polices that protect consumers.