Prescription medications are given by doctors with specialized knowledge about medical science. They know the side effects and benefits of particular medications better than the average person, which is one of many reasons prescriptions aren’t available over the counter. Although doctors do watch television, they don’t need to see commercials about drugs and would never base a decision entirely on what they saw advertised.
Pharmaceuticals regularly send doctors new drug information to encourage them to prescribe it. They often send samples to give to patients, too. This is why advertising on television isn’t benefitting doctors.
People seeing prescriptions on television are easily influenced. Most of us watch television on autopilot and are unaware of the information and advertising that influences us. Furthermore, even doctors aren’t allowed to diagnose themselves.
Deciding you need a particular medication because you saw it on television is a poor decision. People don’t prescribe the medications and doctors already know about them. There is no need for advertisements because they only increase the profits of pharmaceutical companies.
Advertisements for medications have side effects, but they also describe how they treat problems. You’ll hear about a drug that treats low moods or boosts energy. Since everyone can have mood issues and occasional fatigue, advertisers try to be as vague as possible when describing what a drug can do.
This way people who don’t need the medication will think they do. They may even imagine their issues are worse than they are when asking for that medication. Or in many modern situations, people simply lie to doctors because they think they’re qualified to diagnose themselves.
Of course, things are best left to professionals. That said, doctors are far from perfect, and all people are subject to suggestions. Suggesting a medication may make the doctor more likely to prescribe it – or less likely.
Depending on your needs, you could miss out on a more effective drug or take an unnecessary medication and high cost to you. Medications advertised on television are often pushed with only profit in mind.
For instance, the largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, is notorious for putting profit first. While they sell many amazing medications, they are more than willing to exaggerate the benefits in advertisements.
Pfizer manufactures Lipitor, Viagra, Zoloft, and Pristiq are four Pfizer products frequently used in advertisements. While they all can produce results, they also take advantage of uninformed viewers.
Zoloft is an antidepressant, but Pfizer was warned by the FDA for failing to mention increased risks of suicide in advertisements. Furthermore, Pristiq is a drug advertised to help people with depression. The problem is that Pristiq is a different class of antidepressant.
In the majority of cases, a doctor should be prescribing lower class drugs like Zoloft. Pristiq has more side effects because it affects both serotonin and norepinephrine as opposed to just serotonin. Recommending Pristiq for all cases of depression is irresponsible given the increased risk to patients.
Pristiq is also controversial because of economic reasons. The drug called Effexor, which is Venlafaxine, is a popular drug prescribed for depression. Also an SNRI class drug, Venlafaxine is used in the body to produce Desvenlafaxine.
So Effexor is turned into something naturally. That something happens to be Pristiq, and it has shown no significant differences to Effexor. However, companies are given a monopoly on drugs they invent until they lose their patent.
Since Pfizer’s patent is running out, they repackaged the same drug in a different way. Now doctors can prescribe the more costly Pristiq and Pfizer’s competitors are not allowed to produce it. Suddenly, Effexor is incorrectly labeled as inferior. They are the same thing.
Until recently, Wikipedia had no entry on Desvenlafaxine and Pristiq was mentioned under Venlafaxine. Now Pristiq has it’s own page. One of the inconveniences of a free to edit encyclopedia. They’re technically different, but technicalities are costing people thousands of dollars.
People shouldn’t be diagnosing themselves, and prescription advertisements encourage this. No one needs to know about the new drugs because if they have a problem that’s health related, they should seek a doctor.
We know psychological and mental issues are covered under medicine today so there is no excuse for failing to consult a physician. For every advertised medication, there are usually competitors. Let your doctor evaluate your medications.
Television commercials for prescription medications should be outlawed because they endanger health – like smoking. If we want to help the sick, we can have public service commercials on when to consult a doctor.
We don’t need pharmaceutical companies pressuring people to use risky and overpriced medications. The health industry is one aspect of life where we want to put people above profits. Cigarette commercials were already banned for good medical reasons. The same should be done here.