The continuing growth of direct to consumer advertising by big pharmacy also continues to grow in controversy.

The continuing growth of direct to consumer advertising by big pharmacy also continues to grow in controversy. Physicians complain that they are often confronted by patients who demand a particular drug for their treatment for no more reason than the patient viewed the medication during a television commercial. Because of this, the majority of physicians oppose continued advertising direct to consumers. These doctors state that it is often the case that the particular medication is inappropriate for the patient (or simply not the preferred treatment), yet the patient’s demands continue unabated. Patient’s rights advocates argue in response that the patient is entitled to as much information as the physician is. There exists no rational reason to limit the amount of information that the patient should have concerning a medication or, in fact, ANY other facet of treatment. The advocate’s primary point is that society should be moving towards greater and freer disbursement of information, not the other way around. Describe whether you support direct to consumer advertising from pharmaceutical companies to potential patients and why. Also describe the pros and cons of advocating your particular position.

Expert Answer

 No, I do not support direct to consumer advertising from pharmaceutical companies to potential patients for the simple reason that consumer’s exposure to drug advertising does not serve the purpose of filling a required educational gap. What such advertisement does is that it propels inappropriate use and in some cases unnecessary use by the consumers. DTC (direct to consumer) advertising is, no doubt, informative and educational, but the outcome of DTC advertising is undesirable. This is because DTC advertising may lead to inappropriate patient demands on providers, it may encourage use of expensive and branded medicines and it may encourage overuse of prescription drugs.

Pros of not supporting DTC advertising is that it will not lead to stimulation of demand for medicines that are not necessary or are not suitable. It will curb the practice of inappropriate prescribing of medicines.

Cons of not supporting DTC advertising is that curbing DTC advertising is akin to curbing valuable educational information to the patients.

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