Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs contributes to the high cost of drugs. These costs come back to the consumer who needs the drug. This practice targets the wrong group of people, as consumers are not the primary decision makers when it comes to prescription drugs. Unlike OTC (over the counter) drugs, prescription drugs require a written authorization from a doctor, i.e. a prescription, in order to purchase the drug. The patient has little influence on what drug they take, because the doctor must prescribe a drug that fits the patient’s symptoms. The medical industry as a whole has spent an average of $27.7 billion per year on advertising for prescription drugs. These extremely high expenditures are the 2nd largest in consumer advertisement spending, second only to the car industry’s advertising expenditure.
These advertisements must be paid for somehow. The medical companies pass the expenses off to their consumers, the patients, by charging more for the drugs thereby ensuring a hefty profit. These advertisements need to be eliminated because they are aimed at the wrong audience. The doctor primarily determines the drug prescribed. Many Americans already have trouble paying for drugs they need and other health care costs. These ads only increase the price of the prescription drugs they need. Around the world, all countries except for the US and New Zealand have banned Direct-to-Consumer prescription advertisements and the result was cheaper drug costs. The FDA should ban these unnecessary and misdirected advertisements so that prescription drugs can help Americans and not wound their health care budget by high prices.
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