Because it believes patients are tuning out the warnings, the FDA is considering allowing drug companies to shorten the endless list of possible side effects they’re now required to include in advertising directly to consumers (DTC).
As Dr. Melody T. McCloud writes on KevinMD.com, the whole industry needs a rewrite.
“Why not rid the airwaves of pharmaceutical advertising all together?” asks McCloud, author of “First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.” “Why do we even have pharmaceutical ads on TV? Do we need them?”
In addition to questioning whether patients should be asking their doctors for drugs they can’t really know every nuance of, McCloud is troubled by the waste of dollars spent for advertising instead of healing. “… DTC advertising comprises a huge portion of pharmaceutical companies’ overhead, which, in turn, is passed on to the consumer-patients.”
McCloud refers to Over-Medicated America, which claims:
- 1 in 2 Americans is on a prescription drug;
- 1 in 4 women takes drugs for a mental health issue;
- anti-depressant medication use by women increased 29% in the last decade;
- the number of people taking five or more drugs increased 70% between 2000 and 2008;
- the pharmaceutical industry spent twice as much on marketing as research and development in 2008;
- 2 of 3 new drugs introduced between 1995 and 2004 were extremely similar to ones on the market;
- drug companies paid $7 billion between 2007 and 2010 as the result of lawsuits for paying doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses.
Says McCloud: “Our noble profession has been overtaken by big business, and it makes me sick.”