Prescription Drug Essay

There are only two countries in the world that can advertise prescription drugs; New Zealand and United States. In United States, according to “What you should know about direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs,” the FDA first proposed the regulation of drug advertising in 1963. Moreover, in the 1970s, the Supreme Court recognized that the first amendment, freedom of speech, supports this idea.

However, in 1983, the FDA requested an intentional suspension on DTC advertising due to not having enough policy regarding advertisements, but in 1985, the ban got lifted. Nonetheless, based upon advertisement by pharmaceutical companies, regulations were established to require pharmaceutical companies to advise their consumers of side effects and effectiveness of their product. Because of this, newspapers and magazines started advertising pharmaceutical drugs.

Unfortunately, for broadcast advertising, it was not cost effective since the regulation is too inhibiting. However, in 1997, the FDA permitted those advertisements to include the purpose and effect of the product and by 1999, when the FDA issued the final guidance, pharmaceutical advertisements were already being advertised on television, billboards, radio, newspapers, and on the internet.

To recapitulate, when prescription drugs are generously advertise in several methods, prescription drugs has become a lucrative industry. About five years after FDA issued new policies about managing broadcast direct to consumer advertising, which allow television ads to promote specific drugs with its information, side effects, and precautions, the marketing of prescription medications directly to consumers remains the focus of debates.

Advocates argue that DTC advertising informs consumers about important, treatable health conditions and encourage doctor patient communication, while critics say that this type of advertising contributes to rising drug costs and lead people to demand unnecessary or inappropriate medications. According to “Consumer opinion and effectiveness of direct-to-consumer advertising,” 250 surveys were distributed at a pharmacy, while these consumers waiting for their prescription drugs to be filled. 154 questionnaires were returned that resulted in 62% response rate.

One of the questions was asked about the respondents’ level of exposure to DTC advertising. According to the results, more than 70% of the respondents were exposed to direct to consumer drugs advertising four or five times a week, thru television. It is important that the general public to be informed about the amount and method of DTC drug advertising they are constantly exposed to so they know whether they really need to take the medications that are being prescribed to them or are they just being persuaded by the doctors or advertisements.

If consumers are only taking the medications due to ads influence and doctors’ assurances, these tactics will result to mostly benefit the doctors that get commission with every prescription they prescribed and also the drug industries that spend millions of dollars in assurance that their advertisements would bait the consumers to buy their products. With knowledge, consumers will be prevented from being ripped off and take the right medications to suffice their medical needs. A great example to this is my own personal experience with a doctor that prescribed me an anti-depressants and bipolar medications.

I was prescribed by a doctor to take anti-depressants and bipolar medications after just having me filled out a questionnaire (ten questions, exactly like how they advertise it on television for i. e. Are you restless? Having a hard time concentrating? Etc. ). I personally didn’t go to the doctor to get prescriptions medicines but I went there to see if anyone can help me grieve about a death of a good friend since I’m not comfortable calling and crying on the phone with my friends. Without any knowledge about the medications or how and why I was evaluated as bipolar and depressed, I took the medications that the doctor prescribed to me.

I believed him since in my eyes, he’s an expert. In the end, I did not finish the medications that were prescribed to me as I realized it was a grieving period and let the time heal myself. To this day, I am still clueless as how I was evaluated as bipolar since I never really knew or think of myself that way. Consumers are exposed to advertisements every day and almost anywhere, whether it’d be television, internet, smart phone, social networking sites, etc. Advertisements are meant for you to see and be persuaded so we can all remember and buy the products.

The next section will take a more in-depth look at how drugs are marketed to the public and how direct to consumer advertisements influence the consumers, doctors, and also the drug industries. BODY Harker and Harker (cited in The healthcare market, 2004) have done much research and their results showed that there are two segments that divides the healthcare market; the healthy and unhealthy. These two segments comprise people with different needs. Additionally, ads are not obvious to the healthy people because they have no noticeable health problems.

However, this is not always true because some of them may have health problems they are not aware of and ads may influence and let them be alerted about it. Harker and Harker further confirmed through their research that television is a typical medium in direct to consumer advertisings with problem-solution and emotional appeals being used the most. In addition, since many female consumers read magazines, this is also a good medium to use direct to consumer advertising however; it is not effective as television since many people do not read all the information and brief summaries of the products.

Moreover, internet is also an important source and the combined approach of TV and Internet such as Youtube, HuluPlus, etc. has high attention and credibility. Harker and Harker also confirmed that doctors are highly credible source of information. According to “Drawing the line on drug marketing: the pharmaceutical and medical communities are split over allowing direct-to-consumer ads” It is important to know that Direct-to-consumer advertising “is used to gain market share for new drugs and to increase utilization, (which are) two main drivers of drug-cost increases,” Green Shield says in its statement. We are opposed to DTCA. We are however, very much in favor of the trend for consumers/patients to receive quality drug information, both in advance of and at the time of the encounter with the health provider. ” A new study,commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation and conducted by researchers at theHarvard School of Public Health (M. B. Rosenthal and A. M. Epstein), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (E. R. Berndt), and Harvard Medical School (J. M. Donohue and R. G. Frank), provides important new information on this issue.

To simulate the overall impact of changes in DTC advertising on drug spending growth, these results were applied to changes in spending from 1999 to 2000 for the 25 drug classes with the highest retail sales. Drugs in these classes accounted for about 60% of the DTC advertising and about 75% of retail sales over that period. The study concludes that changes in DTC advertising during that period accounted for 12% ($2. 6 billion) of the total growth in drug spending in 2000. This means that each additional dollar spent on DTC advertising in 2000 yielded $4. 0 in additional pharmaceutical sales in that year. BODY A recent study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (M. B. Rosenthal and A. M. Epstein), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (E. R. Berndt), and Harvard Medical School (J. M. Donohue and R. G. Frank) finds that DTC advertising has a significant effect on prescription drug spending. The complete report of their study, Demand Effects of Recent Changes in Prescription Drug Promotion, May 29, 2003, can be found at www. kff. org.

According to “All of this may not be too comforting to patients who regard their doctors as omniscient and impervious to influences beyond hard science. But “thinking that doctors are some kind of last line of defense, a sort of medical Maginot Line, is fantasy,” Kravitz said. Doctors often read social cues and take educated guesses about treatments. Sometimes medicine is a process of elimination. Doctors may be willing to try a patient on a medication, particularly if they’re unsure of a diagnosis, as long as the potential side- effects of the medication are not serious.

Doctors are susceptible to persuasion and influence. Advertising and marketing can help doctors–and patients–better understand medications and what they can do. But it may also lead to needless prescribing of pills. What’s really important here is Americans’ confidence in their doctors’ judgment. A few years ago, drug company representatives routinely showered doctors with expensive gifts–Broadway show tickets, deluxe cruises, free dinners–to persuade doctors to prescribe their company’s pills.

Then the drug industry and the American Medical Association issued voluntary guidelines, advising drug companies to stop offering extravagant gifts and doctors to stop accepting them. B what happened to cause pharmaceutical companies to begin advertising directly to consumers,or DTC Marketing According to Direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising: a study of consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions Singh, Tanuja; Smith, Donnavieve. The Journal of Consumer Marketing22. 7 (2005): 369-378,437.

Despite its origins in the sixteenth century, direct marketing of pharmaceutical products to consumers is a relatively recent phenomenon (Dukes et al, 2001). Prior to the 1980s, prescription drug manufacturers primarily marketed branded drugs to physicians in an effort to avoid disrupting the intricate, and often delicate, relationship that existed between doctors and patients (Dukes et al, 2001; Ausness, 2002). Between 1983 and 1985 the FDA requested a voluntary moratorium on DTC advertising noting that there was a lack of previous court rulings on the issue.

Around 1985 the ban was lifted and the courts reached a compromise by declaring that DTC ads were to be subjected to the same regulations that had previously guided pharmaceutical drug advertising to physicians. Consumers were to be protected through “full disclosure” and drug manufacturers would be required to provide a “brief summary” of the product in the form of package insert. As a result of industry pressure, and after considerable debate and deliberation, the FDA relaxed its rules in 1997 and for the first time, manufacturers were allowed to provide the name of the drug and the conditions that were associated with its use.

At the same time, the FDA relaxed the guidelines concerning the information regarding the inclusion of product risk information. With the relaxed guidelines, drug manufacturers would only be required to mention the most critical information – basically those risks that would be common for the general population. In addition, drug manufacturers were also required to open up the lines of communication with their consumers. Consequently, drug manufacturers started providing consumers with information on request via toll-free numbers, the Internet, print advertising and similar means (Wilkes et al. 2000). By 1999, the final guidance on DTC advertising was issued and DTC ads had gone mainstream with drug manufacturers using a broad spectrum of promotional devices for prescription drugs including the back of ATM receipts, bank statements, and airline luggage labels (Reast et al. , 2004). The debate over DTC advertising While the pharmaceutical industry was once enveloped in a shroud of mystery, consumers now have more information at their disposal than ever before. On the surface it appears that consumers might appreciate the opportunity to ecome more involved in their medical care and it also seems apparent that drug manufacturers should benefit from the provision of information in the form of DTC ads. However, there have been growing concerns about the necessity of DTC ads and their true benefits. “Proponents and opponents of direct-toconsumer advertising have established their rhetoric and have staked out their positions” (Dukes et al, 2001, ?. 2). While many arguments have been advanced regarding the legitimacy of DTC advertising, the central question revolves around whether or not DTC advertising is truly beneficial to consumers and if so, how?

Drug industry advocates point to the “educational” value of advertising directly to consumers and assert that consumers are now able to manage their health issues more effectively because of the information they garner from DTC ads. Supporters also point to the criticality of time, noting that there has traditionally been a time lag in the communication between pharmaceutical companies and doctors/patients; that doctors would often hear about medical advances and new medicines well after the information was needed.

Supporters assert that DTC advertising bridges this information gap by informing consumers and physicians about new and promising advances in the medical field to treat particular conditions (Calfee, 2002). Opponents of DTC advertising disagree with these assertions and charge that PDA’s decision to allow DTC advertising of prescription drugs has created or will create numerous problems (Elliott, 2002). Some lament the changing doctor-patient relationship, while others decry the viewing of patients as consumers (Reast et al, 2004).

These detractors argue that DTC ads might create a false sense of empowerment for the average consumer who does not have the ability or background to effectively evaluate the claims associated with the advertised drug (Wilkes et al. , 2000). For these consumers, the complexity of information presented in DTC advertisements may prove to be too difficult to understand and interpret. Opponents also contend that DTC advertising might result in self-diagnosis of “assumed” medical conditions by the consumers, leading to unnecessary and perhaps even dangerous uses of prescription drugs (Chandra and Holt, 1999).

Opponents are also skeptical about the incremental value of information provided about new drugs. Citing data from numerous studies, Lexchin and Mintzes (2002, p. 194) note that a very small percentage of new medications are truly breakthrough advances that provide “substantial improvements over existing therapies”. In fact, diey claim that drug companies are motivated more by profits than they are by informing consumers about better or safer drugs that offer significant advances over existing treatments.

It has also been suggested that the drive to increase profits could eventually become a detriment to drug manufacturers. Opponents believe that DTC advertising has little educational merit and that most prescription drug advertising only serves to meet the financial motives of drug manufacturers. Some feel that DTC advertising might eventually increase the costs of prescription medication as consumers “demand” branded drugs to treat their medical conditions and abandon the less expensive, generic versions of the drugs that might be equal C. DISCUSS THE PERSUASION TACTICS