Ask Your Doctor, Tell Your Doctor

(Better Yet, Ask Your Congressperson to Ban Drug Advertising on TV.)

Erectile dysfunction; constipation; chronic depression; kidney problems; overactive bladder; type 2 diabetes; bipolar disorder; asthma, the list of television ads to treat our ills with pharmaceuticals goes on and on. You’d think we are a nation of hypochondriacs obsessed with medical problems. Hmmmm, could be true.

As someone who grew up in the ’50s when you had to ask the pharmacist for rubbers (under the counter), to see ads about bowel problems, menstrual issues and boner problems big as life on the TV is amazing, and a bit off-putting.

Only New Zealand and the US allow drug companies to hawk their products directly to consumers. Drug companies get tax breaks for their advertising. Last year they spent $5.2B on ads. Of course all this increases the cost of drugs to consumers. The drug companies argue it is a freedom of speech issue. Ha, ha, ha.

Follow the money. Gilead spent more than $100,000M to advertise a drug that costs each consumer $94,500 for a few months to treat hepatitis C ($1,100 / pill). Another drug for cancer treatments costs $150,000 per year. 

The whole scene reminds me of the Wild West: out of control, driven by greed, and bordering on criminal. 

Minnisota Senator Al Franken has proposed legislation that would eliminate tax breaks for drug company advertising. It is at least a start. 

To see my parody of this:




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