In the near future, where you’re watching the big game or your favorite daytime show, you’ll notice that something is missing during the commercial break: ads for prescription drugs. If one of the doctors’ largest lobbying group doctors has its way, we’ll soon see an end to the smiling faces promoting the newest erectile dysfunction pill.
The American Medical Association recently voted in favor of banning direct-to-consumer advertising for all medical devices and prescription drugs. While the resolution has no immediate impact on banning pharmaceutical advertising, this shows the relationship between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry is changing.
Physicians expressed their concerns on the growing number of pharmaceutical drug ads is driving demand for expensive treatments that are not necessarily ideal for treatment compared to less costly treatment options.
“Today’s vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” said AMA Board Chair-elect Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”
Advertising dollars spent by drug makers has increased by 30 percent in the last two years. The $4.5 billion check for public media has also had a direct impact on the rising costs for brand-name prescription drugs. In 2015 alone there has been a 4.7 percent spike.
Drug makers have defended their advertising by claiming that their marketing encourages people to seek medical advice from their doctors. Whether this is or is not the case is unknown at this place and time.
One thing that is undeniable is that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of prescription drug abuse. Whether this is connected to the rise in adverts for prescription drugs or not, it is safe to say that we need to be wary of the dangers of easily accessible prescription pills.