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Arment Dietrich

All Drugs Aren't Miracles

By: Arment Dietrich | September 4, 2007 | 
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I am so glad that somebody is finally going to start looking into drug commercials.  These advertisements play with my mind.

Are you tired?  Yes.  Do you find it hard to concentrate a full nine hours at work?  Sometimes.  Do you drink more than one cup of coffee a month?  Yes.  Do you want to be happy and carefree like this person in our commercial?  YES.

Then I start thinking, maybe I do have restless leg syndrome.  It must be a miracle drug, look how happy they are!

OK, maybe I am not that naïve, but apparently some people are.  According to Associated Press, the FDA is conducting research to see if “drug ads are distracting consumers from carefully considering and encoding risk information”.  They are in fear of people relating the happy and relaxed images on screen to themselves, and not paying attention to the risks and side effects of the actual drug.

Television drug commercials are “supposed to” help inform people about diseases and treatments, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  And pharmaceutical drug companies are “supposed to” show the good and bad of each drug.

So has advertising gone too far?  Are they trying to sell their product no matter what it takes?  Should there be stricter guidelines and more restrictions? — Molli Megasko

2 comments
Michael E. Rubin
Michael E. Rubin

While I think the ads themselves are completely ridiculous, I don't think there needs to be any more restrictions on them. I think most people are media-savvy enough these days to recognize that these are *ads*. They are doing their darndest to sell you on the drug. That's their job. Does anyone truly believe that the lady is feeling like running through the fields with her dog and the sun shining through her hair because she took a pill?

Besides, most people (I would hope) would check with their doctor first before buying a pill they saw advertised during the commercial break of their favorite TV program. Talk about "messing with [your] mind."

Where it becomes dangerous, though, is the atmosphere these commercials create. They create this sense that if there's something bothering you, there's a pill for you to make it all better. That's the real spin at work here. More illnesses (real or imaginary) means more prescriptions (or midnight jaunts to Walgreens) means more drug sales.

Andrew
Andrew

I whole-heartedly agree. People have to realize that the drug ads are at least 50% bogus. First to spout off general symptoms that could be any of 1000 potential problems is just ludicrous. And then to show people having a great time...it's like hey everyone, I've got genital herpes. Let's get our canoes and our well-behaved dog!!! I think advertisers should have just as much responsibility as pharmaceutical companies in being 100% honest. The "see your doctor" should be the first thing they say. Followed up with, "the next 27 seconds of this commercial has about 99 percent chance of not being useful to you."