Most pharmaceuticals have resorted to advertisement of their products through media, majorly on televisions and radio. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that direct consumer advertisements must present both benefits and side effects of the pharmaceuticals, it is obvious most companies do not. Most advertisements are only meant to have drug sell well in the market and fetch profit but not to educate the public on matters of health. This write-up discusses why it is not ethical for drug companies to advertise directly to the consumers.
Even though drug advertisement on television and radio was legalized by FDA as early as in the late 1997, I believe that the practice is unethical. I agree with Butler (2012) who notes that although pharmaceutical companies claim they educate public, their adverts are designed to attract huge profits at the expense of public health. Most adverts are deceptive, exaggerated and full of lies while they ignore other beneficial health strategies such as dietary and lifestyle changes.
Drug advertisement has negatively impacted on public health in many ways. During the adverts, popular actors are shown role-playing. The drugs are shown to cure the actor instantly from symptoms such as high cholesterol and extremely bad headaches. At first, the actors are shown to be in a pain and helpless, but after taking the drug, the actor’s life magically becomes perfect. The final glory in the actor’s life makes every viewer believe in the drug as the spirit behind making the hero.
I therefore agree with Paddock (2007) who argues that the advertisements only make the viewers feel that they are sick and thus need to be on medication. They appeal to the emotions of the public leading to overmedication and high expense on drugs. Unfortunately, most of the drugs usually damage various body organs including the brain, liver, kidneys and heart. This is rightfully noted by Fugua, J. (2012). Some drugs cause heart attacks and stoke, while almost drugs leads to nutritional deficiencies. The practice is not ethical since these side effects are usually not mentioned in the advertisements on these media channels. Moreover, some of these pharmaceuticals do not work on most individuals.
In conclusion, this practice is not ethical in our society and should not have been legalized. It is clear that it has brought much harm to the public. This is demonstrated by factors such as the increase in market prices to shoulder the cost of advertisement, patients dictating their doctors on drug prescription and strained patient-doctor relationship. Thus, everything possible should be done to stop or regulate this unethical practice.