You’ve seen the ads dozens of times daily on national television, morning, noon, prime time, and evening. It seems as if pharmaceutical company television advertising takes up as much airtime as the slotted television programs you are actually trying to watch. Billions of dollars are spent on drug-company ads, most likely equal to the amount spent on commercials on Super Bowl night in February. But while the Super Bowl ads are creative and much anticipated, pharmaceutical ads have much less popularity, and from the many publications through the years about the subject, the pros and cons of these ads are quite mixed. What’s your opinion?
Simply put: Are drug-company ads on TV good or bad, and do they even work?
On the “PLUS” side, Big Pharma in the year 2015 basically has a drug treatment for every possible ailment one can think of in the U.S. that covers a plethora of symptoms even if one cannot pinpoint the actual disease. In a sense, one can say big pharma ads are educational. There are many folks watching their TVs who could be ailing from any number of diseases and sicknesses, but they may not know how to approach a cure let alone possibly not knowing even what the illnesses are, or they may not have or seen a doctor for whatever reason and don’t have a clue where to start to research a cure.
Drug ads may spark interest or hit a talking point with the viewer which may cause her or him to investigate their ailment further. Just about all the drug company ads on television finish their scripts with, “Ask your doctor if “this drug” is right for you.” This is a good thing. The viewer may also gain knowledge from the information given on the ad they did not have before. Some drug ads may even give courage to a person who may be hiding an ailment out of fear, the ad in-turn making that person feel as though they are not alone; that their physician will know what to do. The drug ad may say to this person, “It’s OK, we’ve seen this before and we know how to approach this issue.”
While pharmaceutical ads may have a plus side, the opposite aspects seem to tip the scales in a “NEGATIVE” direction.
First off, the majority of Americans know the advertisement is paid for by said pharmaceutical company, and that said company is trying to sell you their drug. It’s just that, a paid advertisement. The ad is just like any other, using the power of suggestion to get you to buy into its ability to cure and to ask your doctor to pursue this direction. Many citizens of 1st world nations will likely identify with the ailment, what the product is claiming to do, and then find a way to acquire the drug at all costs. Remember when President Clinton was having major heart issues due to dietary and lifestyle issues. The President ended up having major bypass surgery to unclog major arteries to his heart and to set him on the right road to health.
Now remember how many Americans inquired about having that same surgery even though they were not candidates for such an invasive approach to a cure? Look it up on Google. The majority of these folks just needed to eat better and exercise a bit.
Secondly in the list of negatives, and one really needs to find this aspect of drug ads the most amusing point, are the seemingly endless list of side effects that go along with taking any one of the advertised products. One can possibly put up with dry mouth or tongue from inducing a drug that will make you breathe easier, or quit smoking. But seriously, what is the point of taking a remedy whose side effects may cause anal bleeding, insomnia, loss of appetite, a vast array of other cancers, itching burning skin, suicidal thoughts, etc. It may be safe to say the side effects lists often offsets the good points of the cure, basically making the drug worthless.
Lastly in our list of pros and cons considerations are the costs of producing and running these pharmaceutical advertisements. As mentioned earlier, we are talking billions of dollars on the table with trying to sell pharmaceutical drugs. The payroll list starts with the celebrities hired to be spokespeople for the ads. Then there is simply the cost of producing the commercials, then the cost of airtime space on the networks. For the record, according to Nielsen TV, ad spending by the pharmaceutical industry was $2.4 billion in 2011. The amount spent by the industry on research and development was at least 30 times that amount. And the price tags keep rising. Many Americans believe spending this kind of money is ludicrous and can be better spent on an array of other things including making humanity throughout the globe healthier, making the globe itself a better and safer place against disease, and mostly to find cures.
But then again, if drug companies made people healthier and eradicated disease, the planet would have a lesser need for pharmaceutical drugs and sales would go down. This is not exactly highly desirable on Big Pharma’s list.
What’s your opinion?