The drug companies know that marketing is extremely powerful. Marketing affects presidential elections, sways public opinion on major issues (remember Harry and Louise?), and affects a lifetime of beer consumption. I can still sing the Oscar Mayer wiener jingle from the ad done 35 years ago. Marketing is so powerful that most academic institutions have banned drug reps from their hallowed halls. We can’t have doctors being unduly influenced by a slick salesperson and a free pen. We can, however, have the entire country misled by amplified claims of effectiveness in slick television spots.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 32 – No 12 – December 2013
Marketing affects behavior and the gurus from Madison Avenue know that a certain number of patients will ask for the purple pill or that pill that eliminates zits and prevents pregnancy simultaneously – man, if it could only make her look like Barbie too. They also know that rather than taking 5 minutes to explain to the patient why a cheap diuretic is preferred over the fancy new drug, a certain number of doctors will just write the script – especially if they recently got a free pen from the drug rep.
What I find most interesting is the information the companies must disclose about adverse effects. By the end of the ad, you wonder if they are trying to dissuade you from taking it. In rare occurrences Bonagra has made teeth fall out and caused men to buy a new sports car for no apparent reason.
Don’t take Bonagra and marijuana together because the next morning you might regret what you did the prior evening. Call your doctor if you can’t wipe the smile off your face after four hours. I think it’s like the jumbled talk at the end of the car ads. People just ignore it.
I’m sure this whole situation drives the family doctors and the internists crazy. If every third patient was asking why I was not prescribing the cholesterol drug he saw on television, I would become aggravated. Luckily for us they don’t advertise opiates and antibiotics. I can understand why opiates are taboo, plus they sell themselves anyway. Still I would like to see what they would come up with for OxyContin. Yes, it’s long acting, but if you crush the tablet, it’s just like heroin. Plus you can sell half your stash to pay next month’s rent. The disclaimers about lonely and crushing addiction might be a bit discouraging.