Running head: Business Ethics Research Paper
Direct to Consumer Marketing of Prescription Drugs
Advertising of prescription drugs remains a controversial topic due to the American citizen health and the doctor-patient relationship. There have been many changes in the federal regulation of print and broadcast advertising over the past twenty years. This has been a gray area of regulatory developments since the original Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, which limits the informal and indirect marketing of pharmaceutical drugs. Other than the voluntary decision to follow the AMA Code of Ethics, no formal regulation has been enforced.
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He put emphasis on treating humans as an end to a mean. Advertising does not follow that theory, but they do see humans as a means to increase drug sales.
Pharmaceutical companies advertise drugs on television and in magazines. These ads are being marketed to the general public, not necessarily to people who are being treated for medical conditions. The drug companies view these ads as educational but there are a number of people who believe these companies are trying to convince healthy people they are sick. One way they advertise is to hire well known actors as spokesmen for the drug. This is a subtle way to influence people through the media. Most actors/reporters are not medical experts. They do know what makes a good story and do not intentionally mislead the public but recommend products without the knowledge or disclaimers on side effects and risks.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s some companies explored non-advertising marketing through newsreels, event planning and other public areas. “For example, J.B. Roerig & Co, a division of Pfizer, released a newsreel in 1957 to help launch Atarax (hydroxyzine), it’s new minor tranquilizer. The film featured an anxious husband, unable to sleep, who is soothed and educated by his well-informed wife who reads to him about the physiology of tension.” (Greene, Jeremy A., Herzberg, David , 2010). After this short clip the camera zoomed in on the medicine bottle label while the announcer reassured there were new medicines to relieve “mental and physical tension” to a physical state of bliss, known as ataraxia. Companies attracted media attention by adding gimmicks to their medical marketing. This made it more personal to Americans and they felt they could relate and make informed decisions about their own needs over those of the physicians.
For years, Pharmaceutical companies have advertised directly to America’s doctors. They would offer incentives and give billions of dollars of gifts trying to persuade them to prescribe their drug. This was viewed as buying their sales. The drug company would overwhelm the doctor with free samples, pens, clipboards etc and often it was thought the doctor would lose focus on the patient’s best interest. Physicians now that consumers have unreasonable expectations of advertised drugs. They seem to focus on the benefits and none of the side effects. Too make matters worse, ads directed at doctors were also misleading. One study that was reviewed by researchers recommended a drug for a group of people who had not been represented in the study cited. In some cases, a drug that was recommended for everyone with a certain condition and it had only been studied in another group. Consumer Reports magazine reviewed all regulatory letters that the FDA sent from January 1997 through November 2002. The reported results show that direct to consumer ads contained 277 violations. The ads directed at doctors had almost four times as many. Misleading ads can...