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Ask Your Doctor If This Ad Is Right for You

Posted on November 7th, 2009 at 14:05 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself -- Write a comment


Does it seem like you hear the phrase “ask your doctor” every time you turn on the TV? There’s a reason. Drug companies spend about $5 billion a year in the U.S. on ads imploring people to talk to their physicians if they think a pill they’ve read about or seen on TV might help them. Such ads are so pervasive one might assume viewers are heading to the doctor knowing which drugs they want. But new research based on recordings of conversations in physicians’ offices suggests most patients aren’t asking for drugs by name. Or they’re only asking about scary side effects, which drugmakers have to include in ads, often in stomach-turning detail.


Some lawmakers wish drug companies would exercise more restraint. On Oct. 8, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced a bill proposing that drugmakers no longer be allowed to deduct marketing expenses from their taxes, as companies generally can. “This legislation will remove these benefits so pharmaceutical companies can focus on developing new drugs, not excessive marketing schemes,” Franken’s office said in a statement.

  1. I’ve been curious about those commercials for a long time. When we first started seeing them, they would only tell you to ask your doctor if their product was right for you but they didn’t mention anywhere in their ad what their product was for. Now that they do provide information on their product, they have to give warnings on potential side effects and they do it very slowly and deliberately, which leads me to believe that a government oversight body either monitors them closely or signs off on them before they’re aired. Personally, I think ads aimed directly at patients undermine doctors and they should be removed.

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