Opinion – TV advertising of prescription drugs should be banned

This is a topic that I don’t usually write about here but it’s something that’s been bugging me and I wanted to get it off my chest.

I get irritated every time I see a TV ad for a prescription drug. Why? Because the cost of that ad is being added to the already high cost of our prescription drugs.

Why do drugmakers advertise directly to consumers (DTC) anyway? Shouldn’t our doctor be the one prescribing the drugs we need? I’m confident that they can without the help of a TV ad.

According to a FierceFarma article drugmakers spent $3.73 billion dollars on TV ads in 2018. Leading the way was AbbVie’s Humira at $375 million with Pfizer’s Lyrica at $213 million in second place.

In my opinion, drugmakers should be banned from doing DTC advertising. Why? Because we consumers are paying for the cost of that advertising in the cost of our prescription drugs.

In fact, in 2015 the “AMA voted in support of a DTC advertising ban because of concern among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices“. Another interesting point. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

According to a New York Times article “The Trump administration for the first time will require pharmaceutical companies to include the price of prescription drugs in television advertisements if the cost exceeds $35 per month. The move, announced on Wednesday by Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is the most visible action the administration has taken so far to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. It has been a key issue for American voters and one that both Republicans and Democrats have vowed to address.”

This is a start but more is needed.