Does Direct-to Customer Advertising of Medication Enchance Patient Choice


Please elborate on both sides of the issue.Does DTC enchance patient choice or is it a scheme for drug companies to increase profits


For a long time, prescription drugs have been marketed towards doctors.  Prescription drugs advertisement to consumers were greatly limited through various regulations.  This was because direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) on mass media was considered quite expensive.   Prior to 1997 review of DTCA, it was required that any advertisement on drugs had to bear both brand name and medical claims which was to feature summary of the effectiveness of the drug, side effects, and also contradictions. This meant that the total words per advertisement was increased making it expensive for most companies to advertise their drugs. However, Foods and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed this provision in August 1997 allowing pharmaceutical firms to market their drugs directly through the television without giving a brief summary of the drugs.  Consequently, pharmaceutical companies trooped the media in large numbers and DTCA expenditure increased from a mere $800 million in 1996 to more than $2.5 billion in 2000. However, this has created a public debate with proponents arguing that DTCA increased consumer education value as they are able to understand drugs and their mechanism well.  DTCA informs patient of a wide range of drugs and the disease they treat which increase consumer ability to seek drugs for a number of ailments. On the other hand, opponents argue that DTCA has misled patients as they tend to demand heavily advertised drugs which contribute to inappropriate use of drugs while some unnecessarily purchases expensive drugs.  There is no doubt that DTCA enhance consumer choice of drugs.