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The Unethical Impacts of Direct to Consumer Drug Advertising

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Over the last several years, pharmaceutical companies have launched a campaign style called Direct to Consumer Drug Advertising or known as DTCA. This campaign has led to a large increase of clinical examinations has led to a large increase in clinical examination and this makes the pharmaceutical companies happy and helps padding their pockets. Using this type of advertising, these drug companies allow details of a particular drug to spread to a potential patient and then most likely pushed by the doctor upon visit. These types of advertising campaigns are focused on trying to “enrich” the consumer (Relman p28). Even though this type of advertising campaign allows most drugs to be cheaper overall, consumers should be concerned about the ethical and psychological effect it might have because of the type of massive advertising campaign it has become. This particular study will go on to explain the unethical impact a campaign like this has on side effects and addictions (Findlay p39).
In the United States over the last twenty years, the media has also started increasing advertising in this manner to both consumers and doctors. The media targets sources like magazines, internet, TV and social networks to gain the consumers attention (Gerald 7). This type of advertising campaign creates awareness about a drugs and maximizes profits but is also used to education consumers and an information source for medical experts (Gerald 7).
In 1938 a law passed called the Cosmetic and Food Act, then the pharmaceutical advertising boom came along (Relman p28). In 1962 this act was challenged and required proof of drug safety before it could be advertised. The physician to patient method was what was used the most in marketing pharmaceuticals in t...

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...he doctors lack any solid evidence to support the claim of the company having a negative influence. Because of these mixed beliefs, advertisers encourage consumers to ask more questions on any drug prescribed to them and see if it lines up with the advertisement (Findlay p39).
There is plenty of evidence showing that OTC medication has intensified because of advertising. This growth can be seen with many different views from an ethics standpoint. However, these advertisements allow the consumer to exercise their right of views, regardless of doctor recommendations. In theory, the doctor would respect the patient’s opinion and decisions. These advertising campaigns are important in consumer education even if the doctors see it as unethical, but at the end of the day, there needs to be more research in regards to the effectiveness or negativity of DTCA advertisements.
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