Can we talk about how bizarre drug commercials are?
Like, what even is happening in them most of the time?
Exhibit A: What does a man walking around in a park with a book (that he never reads during the commercial) have to do with stopping hypertension? Does hugging books lower blood pressure?
Or, how the ads are actually kind of creepy.
Exhibit B: What’s that? Oh, just a random, glowing butterfly coming in through my bedroom window uninvited. No big deal.
Did I mention that this is an ad for a sleeping pill? The creepiest.
Exhibit C: Apparently, if you’re depressed, you might find some comfort from a random chalkboard stalking you and appearing everywhere you go. What? No.
Then there are ads that are just plain ridiculous.
Exhibit D: How is a blond woman walking in slo-mo on the beach going to convince you to try Viagra?
And, finally, there are the ads that are just a little too … obvious.
Exhibit E: Trying to get that ball in the hole? OK, WE GET IT, Levitra.
Can we just agree that erectile dysfunction ads are the worst?
Jokes aside, pharma ads are a huge business. In 2014 alone, pharmaceutical companies spent a whopping $4.5 billion on marketing directly to consumer. And multiple surveys show this marketing increases the likelihood of a brand-name drug being prescribed.
These ads aren’t just awkward, they’re doing some serious damage.
Which is why the American Medical Association (AMA) the largest medical organization in the country is calling for a ban on this kind of prescription drug marketing.
Only two countries New Zealand and the U.S. allow direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs. Why don’t any other countries? Because it leads to patients demanding specific drugs (that they may or may not need).
As my colleague Parker Molloy wrote on the subject:
“The reason we go into doctors’ offices is to have our symptoms diagnosed and treated. When we go in with a diagnosis already in mind (and with a brand name treatment to go with it), we’re effectively sidestepping the whole point of having doctors.”
Want to read more about why the AMA is calling for a ban? Check out the rest of Parker’s story here.