drugs, and lots of ’em

http://people.ucsc.edu/~jbiggs/funny/I’ve become a bit distraught at the number of pharmaceutical commercials I’ve seen recently. I’m not talking about commercials like those for “Head On” or other OTC meds. I’m talking about prescription medications that only your doctor can prescribe.

The reasoning behind my grievance is that commercials of this nature attempt to discount the doctor’s ability. Realistically, the patient does not need to know anything about a particular medication until presented with the available options from his doctor. These pharmaceutical companies are making even stronger pitches at the doctors themselves, so it’s not as though the doctor isn’t informed about a particular drug. Unlike what is presented on a 30 second television commercial, however, the doctor is aware of the acceptance of a given drug within the medical community and will use his best judgment in making a recommendation. For a patient to enter a hospital with a certain drug in mind does him no good. Instead, spending millions of dollars on advertising only increases the price of the drug at the expense of the patient (directly, or indirectly through his insurance).

What should the drug companies be doing instead of this unnecessary persuasion of the “consumer”? Well, advertising money could be far better spent on more extensive research (preferably with the use of animals). These multi-billion dollar companies are gouging the weak and the entire institution really needs restructuring. Perhaps by the time I’m old enough to contract a debilitating illness (interesting sidenote: scientists say that if every man lived long enough, he would eventually contract prostate cancer), my doctor can easily and inexpensively prescribe an appropriate treatment.

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