Do Big Pharma ads actually educate consumers?

From Jesus’ General:

Pharmaceutical companies run lots of ads claiming that drug prices today pay for the research for the next generation of drugs, but that’s tough to swallow when the marketing and advertising budgets for these companies are higher than their R&D budgets. I think most people would be willing to pay more to fund further research if these companies spent more on research than on trying to sell us stuff.

Speaking of which, it’s debatable whether so much advertising of prescription drugs should be allowed. It’s good for people to know their options, but there is evidence that people who demand a particular drug will often get it whether they need it or not. Marketing to physicians is even worse because it can cause them to prescribe a drugs for reasons other than the patient “best interest” and even without the physician realizing it. Advertisements created by marketing departments simply don’t qualify as the sort of “information” that creates an informed and educated consumer.

Thus we have pharmaceutical companies flush with money which they can “donate” to politicians who coincidentally write laws which favor those same companies, protecting or increasing their profits. All that money has to come from somewhere, though, and it’s not just out of the pockets of patients who can’t really afford to keep paying so much. Companies which offer health insurance are paying, too and they growing frustrated over this. As their costs increase, so does their willingness to consider alternative ways of delivering health care. We may be getting to the point where there is major corporate support for some form of “socialized” medicine.

It’s a succinct summary from JG’s Austin Cline.

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