Most of us remember a time before prescription medications were advertised on TV and in magazines, back when taking a pill was one of several options instead of a first line of defense in combating illness. We weren’t usually aware of the existence of a medication unless it had been prescribed to us by a doctor personally. That’s no longer the case.
Thanks to DTC (direct-to-consumer) drug advertising, the average American can name numerous medications that they’ve never sampled and have no need for. Names like Abilify, Celebrex, Chantix, Cymbalta, Humira and others flit through our collective consciousness, often without us even knowing what they’re for.
Today, celebrities and unknown actors alike are paid by companies Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson and other pharmacological giants to convince us that our lives could be better if we just swallowed a little pill. And we’ve all heard that odd suggestion that ends most of the ads: “Ask your doctor if [insert drug name here] is right for you.”
Some may say, “But this is America! Free enterprise means they have the right to create a product and advertise it. It doesn’t mean you have to buy it.”
Many people are, though – buying it, that is.
There may not be proof of a direct correlation between DTC drug ads and our growing prescription addiction epidemic, but it’s not a big leap to make. In fact, most of the free world sees advertising like this so dangerous that it’s not legal. The US and New Zealand are the only two nations where it’s allowed.
It may be a questionable way to generate sales, but these ads work. In fact, in 2008, the House Commerce Committee found that for every $1,000 a drug manufacturer spent on advertising, they would gain two dozen new patients. Additionally, a 2003 study found that prescription rates for drugs promoted with DTC ads were nearly seven times greater than those without that type of promotion.
So the next time you see one of those ads hawking a prescription med or your doctor suggests you try something you’re not sure you need, think twice. While America has earned the nickname “medication nation,” you don’t need to buy into it. Your health is your responsibility.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment at The Canyon
If you or someone you love needs help with a prescription drug addiction, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.