Friday, May 09, 2008

Congress Threatens Big Pharma's Advertising "Privilege"

Are you annoyed by the barrage of advertising from pharmaceutical companies that promise you a better life if you would just take their drug? All sorts of gimmicks and advertising ploys are used to get people to buy their drugs (though sometimes they need to go through their doctor first) so they can look like the happy person in the TV spot. It is sickening that we have let them get away with it and most Americans probably do not know that we are alone with only New Zealand in allowing them to advertise on television or other media. Well it is time to take action.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pharmaceutical companies need to be more responsible in touting products to consumers or else face tighter controls from Congress, a top U.S. Democratic lawmaker said on Thursday.

Rep. Bart Stupak, at a hearing to discuss specific ads by Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co Inc and Schering-Plough Corp, said television commercials in particular use deceptive techniques to push products to potential patients and increase sales.

"It appears that we need to enforce significant restrictions on DTC (direct-to-consumer) ads to protect American consumers from manipulative commercials designed to mislead and deceive for the profit of pharmaceutical companies," said Stupak, head of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce investigative panel.

It truly is all about profit. Big Pharma can cry all they want that it is only meant to help people live better, but they know as well as we do that it is all about bigger and better profits for their companies. Pfizer, Merck and the rest of them should continue to research and develop life saving drugs, but let our doctors be able to prescribe medication and not these wasteful advertisements.