Friday, July 07, 2006

Drug Lords

If there's an ailment, there's an ad for a prescription drug aimed at fighting it – from toe fungus to impotence.

Prescription drug advertising has swelled to a $4.8 billion industry since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxed its restrictions on the ads in 1997, allowing for descriptions of the drugs' purpose. Many doctors say the ads are coming so fast that they don't have time to learn about the benefits and risks of a new drug before patients start requesting prescriptions.

Thanks to the internet, patients are not only diagnosing their ills but come prepared to prescribe the treatment. All the doc has to do is collect the $20 copay and write out the script.

What is wrong with this picture?

Dr. Melvyn Sterling, an internist who practices in Orange, attended the medical association meetings that led to the policy changes. He said people should consider the source when reading or watching drug ads.

"The reason those ads are there is to sell the drug, not to educate the public," Sterling said

I am shocked! Next we will be hearing all those car commercials are not about educating us on safety but rather to sell cars.

Patients should be aware of safer, cheaper alternatives, doctors said

Unfortunately, too many people don’t want alternatives; they want the latest and greatest . . . especially when it only costs a $30 copay.

"The ads sometimes are for very expensive drugs when there are much less expensive drugs available that the patient should try first … A lot of patients are looking for that magic pill. "

And magic is nothing more than illusion.
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