In 2015, $357 million dollars were spent in TV advertisement for the prescription drug Humira. This was the drug that had the most advertising based on money alone. It’s no secret that drug commercials are primarily shown on every channel. They can vary from allergies to things dealing with Schizophrenia, however they are all based around the general idea of appealing to their audience.
TV viewers are slowly dropping as they are going to other sources for entertainment, but the amount of viewers is still high enough to the point that drug advertisements are continuously being shown. These commercials are slowly stirring up more controversies each day. USA TODAY states that these controversies are becoming more popular due to the fact that the drugs that are being advertised are rather expensive or have a “limited practicality for the average patient-viewer”.
Promoting drugs that have a high price, or are impractical, doesn’t seem to concern the drug advertisement department as they are only continuing to publish these ads. For example, the drug Lyrica costs $400 per 60 capsules, meaning that those who really need the drug may be unable to afford to keep the prescription going. Another factor that is changing within the advertisement is actually the side-effects that one may experience when taking the drugs. The commercials are focused primarily on things that will speak to the patient-viewers that are struggling with the disorder or issue the drug can correct.
For example, allergy commercials promote that once you start taking the allergy medication, you will be able to do things you used to be unable to do, such as playing with animals, walking around in the springtime, etc. This is something that someone with strong allergies would naturally be attracted to. However, when listing the side-effects, the commercial will divert the viewer’s attention with aesthetically pleasing pictures or videos, alongside pleasant music so that they don’t have their full attention on what the side effects actually are, therefore missing the major issues the drug may cause.
While drug commercials aren’t the only ones guilty of this technique, the products they are promoting can be dangerous if the viewer isn’t completely aware of the side effects they may be facing. Now before getting a prescription, patients must speak to their doctors about it, to see if it is best for them. However it seems to be growing more common that the patient’s want overpowers the doctor’s advice. The Placebo Effect is then put into motion. Due to the fact that patients are determined to get the medicine prescribed to them, they begin to develop ‘symptoms’ that would make their doctor more likely to let them have the prescription.
This can be unwise, especially if the patient’s financial situation isn’t the best as prescription prices are getting higher and higher every year. Despite the things that are happening, the drug advertisement business isn’t slowing down. Whether or not they will change their tactics is still unknown, but in the meantime, viewers are advised to make sure to properly research and discuss the drug they are interested in becoming prescribed to. www.pbs.org/newshour/ health/drug-commercials-like-prescription-costs-rise