Tag Archives: pharma prompt

Pharmaceutical Industry

Prompt 2

There are three links I find relevant on the FDA website about DTC prescription drug advertisement:

  1. Background on Drug Advertisement
  2. Basics of Drug Ads
  3. Sample Prescription Drug Advertisement

The Background on Drug Advertisement is important and consumer friendly because it goes over the FDA’s purpose

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of a wide range of products, including human prescription drugs. We also advance public health by helping people get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines appropriately and improve their health.

which I believe is reassuring to consumers. This link also goes over the FDA overseeing advertisement on drugs to make sure that the ads are not misleading. At the very end of this section it is clarified that this website is not to expose ads that may potentially violate laws but rather give an explanation of ideas and concepts related to drug advertising.

The Basics of Drug Ads section explains the difference between over-the-counter and prescription only drugs. This section also goes over the different forms of advertisements and what is included and not in the advertisement, for instance, drug name rather than drug use.

The Sample Prescription Drug Advertisement section is very consumer friendly in that, it provides three different examples of correct and incorrect advertisements:

  1. Product Claim Ad: Names a drug and explains the conditions it treats.
  2. Reminder Ad: Only gives drug’s name but not use.
  3. Help-Seeking Ad: Explains a disease/condition but doesn’t make any recommendations on which drugs to take.

It is important for the consumer to know the difference between these advertisements and what they look like in order to be informed.

From the readings and pharma slides, consumers might still be at risk because today more people are getting exposed through advertisements and becoming interested in DTC prescription drugs. Now they also have a choice between generic and original – price difference – and ‘me too’ drugs which are similar to existing generic drugs with little to no additional benefits.

 

Sources

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Prescription Drug Advertising – Sample

Prescription Drug Advertisements. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from

https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm168421.htm

Pharma Slides

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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

Pharmaceutical Prompt One

Before reading this, I had no idea what DTC adds were. I am aware of the ads on television about certain medications but I had no idea what they were called and never really paid any attention to these ads. After reading these slides I have come up with some points to summarize this advertising practice and why this practice may need a change.

Firstly, the FDA does not require companies to provide an exhaustive and detailed list of side effects in their infomercials. This leaves out certain side effects that may be harmful to the consumer depending on their present medical status and their way of living. Hopefully, if these medications are prescription only medications, then the prescribing doctor would look at the patients’ medical history before prescribing a drug that may have harmful side effects. However, the patient may be resistant to go on other drugs that they have not heard of due to fear of the unknown, so they may only want to take a drug that they have seen in an infomercial. The FDA also reports in a survey that many physicians felt pressure to prescribe a DTC ad drug when a patient brought it up. Secondly, a change for the DTC advertising took place in 2008, when the pharmaceutical industry pledged to not allow actors to play doctors and to make sure that anyone endorsing their product had actually used their product. This does pose a slight problem in that just because someone is endorsing a product does not mean that it worked for them. They are required to have had to try the product, but their opinion on it may be swayed by the amount of money offered to endorse the product. Lastly, DTC ads are putting more prescription drugs and companies under criticism. DTC has reportedly increased demand, but it has also made companies and their products open to criticism that they are trying to maximize profits rather than actually help consumers. This poses a problem when law firms put on commercials stating that a certain prescription drug may cause a serious illness and that the consumer should sue the prescribing doctor and the company who produced the drug. These kinds of ads make consumers wary of companies and drugs and may deter them from getting the help that they need. While one kind of drug may not have worked for one person, it may work for a different person.

An acceptable public health solution is to require companies to provide and exhaustive and detailed list of the side effects to consumers and to only allow endorsements from patients with which the drug has succeeded in doing its job. For providing a list of side effects, the FDA needs to change its requirement back to that of the 1980’s when DTC was first legalized. As for real endorsements, that is slightly trickier as patient confidentiality and HIPPA laws come into play. Patients would have to reach out to pharmaceutical companies themselves to tell the companies if the product worked for them, and from there on the company could ask the patient to publicly endorse their drug.