Although it's only been about 12 years since this became legal in the US, it has made a major impact primarily on the sales and income for the pharmaceutical companies. A representaive for the companies made a comment that one of the drawbacks of the advertisements is that many people think they have the disorder just from reading the symptoms.
These people then rush to their doctors and demand the product to cure whatever they think the might have.
Obviously, the ads also really have an impact on the costs of the prescriptions. The highly advertised prescriptions become far more expensive when, in many cases, the generic equivalents may work just as well.
On the positive side however, many of the ads may increase patient knowledge about an existing condition.
As a long-time osteoarthritis patient, I have been prescribed a wide variety of medications. I was initially given Vioxx, but was taken off of it because of my medical history (I had a stroke 11 years ago). Vioxx was later taken off the market in the U.S. altogether. I have also been put on Celebrex which didn't seem to help me. I've also been on Lodine at times as well as Naproxen without much success. The one prescription that really did seem to help me was Mobic, but when the generic came out, my insurance company insisted I switch. I realize that, theoretically, the generic and the brand name drugs are supposed to be the same, but this generic didn't seem to help at all!
I realize that for the doctors, as well as the patients, there are too many variables involved to have THE perfect answer. The prescription that may help me a lot, may not help you. I really don't feel as if I'm affected by the advertising (other than raising prices). I trust my doctors implicitly and have a good relationship with them all. I AM NOT a doctor, and I trust my doctor to stay informed on the latest in meds appropriate for my osteoarthritis condition and unique needs. I welcome generics if they save me money as well as have the same benefits as the brand name prescription.
Published On: March 04, 2008