One of my bigger hot buttons (and I have more than a few) is all those frickin’ “direct to consumer” pharmaceutical ads on TeeVee. I am SO tired of them, in each and every respect. The one thing that galls me the most, however, are the government-mandated “warnings” included in these ads. I went googling to find out just who, or what, is responsible for this BS. In so doing, I found this:
As required by the
Big Pharma doesn't like this. Nor apparently does the Federal Trade Commission, which on Tuesday urged the FDA to allow drug print ads to run "brief summary" risk alerts of the kind used in broadcast commercials.
The FTC request was contained in a letter to the drug regulator, whom it also urges not to stand in the way of direct-to-consumer drug advertising. The FDA is currently engaged in a review of its rules for direct-to-consumer drug marketing, which annually generates an estimated $2.4 billion (€1.99bn; £1.39bn) in adspend.
Suspicions confirmed: it’s the FDA. I kinda agree with the FTC; I seriously doubt anyone ever reads all the mandated small-print warnings in magazine drug ads, while they’re not “acres” of small print, they are pages of same. Literally pages (plural), Gentle Reader. But that’s print, not TeeVee. You can thumb right over a drug ad in a magazine and ignore it on your way to finding out how Paris survived her jail time, not so when the bastards come right into your living room and tell you that you need — or should consider, at the very least: “Ask your doctor about…” — the latest wonder drug to control your leaky bladder, lower your blood pressure (and your cholesterol, while you’re at it), settle down your restless legs, or revive your flagging ardor…or the means to that end.
Some pharma-firms have gone all “creative” with these warnings, to the effect of having the actor/model-spokesperson recite the warnings as part of the scripted ad dialog… As an example we have the fat, bespectacled, and otherwise highly obnoxious chef of the fictional TV show “Cooking Healthy” (could be another title, I write from memory) going on about how her prescription drug of choice lowers her cholesterol while working in her digestive tract, not her liver, and “may not be appropriate for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.” WTF? Doesn’t this eliminate all women who are post-puberty and pre-menopausal…including, presumably, her-own-self? That’s just one thing I don’t get…
And then there are the “E-D” ads. I’ve written about these before, especially about the fact these ads are broadcast during prime-time, and the inevitability that your average curious nine-year-old will ask Mom or Dad “What’s erectile dysfunction?” Just how the Hell does one answer that question? Other than “never mind, Dear.”
The pharma industry claims these ads are educational in nature, and serve to increase public awareness of treatment options and alternatives. I call bullsh!t. These ads exist for the exact same purpose as any other advertisement: to sell product. The kicker is you can’t just jump into the car, drive down to the pharmacy and ask for a handful of Viagra, or Nexium, or Enablex. Nope, you gotta ask your doctor for a script. And I’ll bet that drives your average doctor freakin’ nuts…probably more so than the ads irritate me, and that irritation, Gentle Reader, is much more than considerable.
I liked life a lot better before the drug companies decided it was OK (with concurrence from the AMA and the FDA) to barge into my living room and flog drugs I neither want nor need.
(Just a note…I think the E-D drug manufacturers really missed the boat when choosing names for their products, e.g., Viagra, Cialis, et al. Since I’ve only just recently begun seeing ads for Enablex, one assumes this is a relatively new drug and the name, or variations on it, was available during the ED drug development cycle. If I would have been in charge of choosing a name for, let’s say, Viagra, I’d have used “Enables-X” instead. Say it out loud.)