English 1120 9:30 am
7 May 2013
Research Paper Final Draft
American Epidemic: Prescription Drugs A perfect sunny day basking in the ambiance of summer with a loved one, dancing under the stars with pain free arthritic joints, driving through the desert in a brand new convertible with what is left of an aging mans hair blowing in a brisk wind. These characteristics of prescription drug advertising may appear familiar to the American public. The appealing quality of the commercials makes these prescription medications appear to be miracle pills, rather than aids to alleviate bothersome symptoms of disease. The question with these advertisements remains, do they hold so much effect that Americans too often request these medications under the commercial’s false pretenses. There is no denying the statistics when it comes to the rapid growth of medicine being prescribed to Americans since the turn of the century. The number of prescriptions has steadily reached over four billion prescriptions consecutively over the past five years. (Hollen 47) The fear of this dependency on medications lies with those who believe that Americans will disregard a clean diet and exercise in exchange for the perfect pill regimen. Not only will the dependency make U.S. citizens rely on these medications in many cases the dependency turns to addiction. According to passagesmalibu.com, a drug addiction clinic, 10 percent of Americans abuses opiate prescription drugs alone, such as methadone and oxycotin. Regardless of these physical dependencies, Drug Company spending on direct-to-consumer advertising continues to skyrocket. Calling for a complete halt, rather than just limits, on such advertising may be in order, according to the authors of a study in the Aug. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine."Direct-to-consumer advertising spending is increasing in terms of its share of total marketing budget, but it's still a smaller share relative to promotion aimed at influencing prescribers," said study author Julie M. Donohue, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health. The U.S. FDA began allowing direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs on television roughly 15 years ago.
Since then, spots of Dorothy Hamill and Sally Field flogging Vioxx and Boniva, respectively, bouncing cartoon characters displaying the wonders of the antidepressant remedy Zoloft, and a wide range of similar promotions of prescription drugs turned harmful, had become ordinary in American media. But along with these advertisements comes criticism and skeptic. The controversy reached critical heights when the arthritis drug Vioxx, one of the most heavily promoted medications ever recorded, was withdrawn from the market in 2004 because of serious cardiovascular risks. Peter Laurie DTC enthusiast discusses the idea American citizens have of prescription drug advertisement regulation in his 2006 publication Prescription Medicine Leads to Overmedication, and then the truth on how irrelevant these FDA regulations are. He quotes a few interviewees who over estimate this regulation system. “Consumers have many misconceptions about DTC advertising. In one survey, 50% believed that DTC advertisements had to be pre-approved by the government and 43% thought that only "completely safe" drugs were allowed to be advertised. Studies conducted by the FDA itself confirm the dangers of DTC advertising. The agency's 2002 survey found that 60% of patients thought that the advertisements provide insufficient information about drug risks and 44% felt similarly about benefits. Fifty-eight percent believed the advertisements made the drugs appear better than they are, and 42% said the advertisements made it seem as if the drug would work for everyone”(3). He ensues to discuss that American support for these advertisements are declining due to