Should drug companies be allowed to advertise to the public? | The Tylt

Should drug companies be allowed to advertise to the public?

"Ask your doctor!" Direct-to-consumer drug advertising (DTCA) is illegal in every developed nation except the US and New Zealand. Critics of drug ads say they "mislead consumers into taking costly prescription drugs that they do not need." But others argue that Americans are accustomed to being bombarded with ads for prescription drugs. The ads help inform patients about health care, encouraging them to see their doctors and act as price-conscious consumers. What do you think? 💊

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Should drug companies be allowed to advertise to the public?
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#DrugAdsAreNecessary
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Should drug companies be allowed to advertise to the public?
#BanDrugAds
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Today, drug companies spend $4 billion a year on ads to consumers. Since the FDA relaxed restrictions on drug advertising in 1997, the pharmaceutical industry increased spending on direct-to-consumer ads dramatically, from $166 million in 1993 to $5.2 billion in 2015. And those ads are working:

"Something like a third of consumers who've seen a drug ad have talked to their doctor about it," says Julie Donohue, a professor of public health at the University of Pittsburgh who is considered a leading expert on this subject. "About two-thirds of those have asked for a prescription. And the majority of people who ask for a prescription have that request honored."
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But others argue drug ads are actually protected free speech—and moreover, they let patients play an active role in their own health care:

Proponents of DTC prescription drug ads contend that the ads inform patients about diseases and possible treatments, encourage people to seek medical advice, help remove stigma associated with medical conditions, and provide needed sales revenue to fund costly research and development of new drugs.
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Prescription drug spending is the third most expensive cost in our health care system. And spending grows annually every year—in a decade and a half, the use of prescription medication went up 71 percent. Why is it illegal nearly everywhere but here? 

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A commenter at the New York Times argued the ads have a positive effect on consumers:

Numerous studies demonstrate that prescription drug advertising provides extremely valuable information to millions of Americans who are not adequately informed about the dangers of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases.
FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should drug companies be allowed to advertise to the public?
A festive crown for the winner
#BanDrugAds
#DrugAdsAreNecessary