US and NZ sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
New Zealand is the only other country in the world that allows direct-to-consumer marketing. Those Lipitor ads, the Mucinex boogers — they don’t exist outside of those two countries. The pharmaceutical companies claim that their advertisements provide important educational value to patients. “They can learn about diseases they might have!” the companies say. I say humbug.
Patients learn nothing from these ads, besides seeing ridiculously attractive, healthy-looking, active people pretend to have any number of diseases. I’ve said it before–if the companies were truly interested in educating patients, they would teach them about any number of topics that many patients do not understand. Instead, they hawk products half the time and quickly ramble a list of side effects with the other half left.
Remember–the Pharma corporations are responsible to their shareholders, not the public. Their goal is to make more money, by selling more pills. They do not “educate patients” because it’s good for patients. They “educate patients” because it’s better for their bottom line. Do we not trust physicians to make accurate diagnoses that we need patients to ask for Lipitor?
Ban direct-to-consumer advertising.
If not that, make the field “direct-to-consumer educatisng.” 95% of your advertising time teaches the public how scientific studies work, or what a cardiac stress test does, or why antibiotic resistance is a problem and why doctors don’t like to give out antibiotics liberally, or why CT scans aren’t always a good idea, or why vaccines are safe. There’s an almost limitless number of topics physicians are repeating over and over to patients. In the last 5 seconds, you get to flash your drug logo. “Brought to you by Pfizer.” Put out or get out.