Monday, May 12, 2008


If you just landed on Earth from outer space and turned on a television set, you would swear that the vast majority, if not all, men in America suffer from erectile dysfunction. It also would appear that no one can possibly sleep without the latest prescription aid. It goes on and on. There are indigestion cures, gas attack aids, constipation cures, and all manner of helpful medicines available from your nearest doctor. This then begins to describe the problem here. They are available not over the counter, but from a prescription written by your doctor.

A question has occurred to me. Just how much of the cost of prescription drugs is represented in the advertising of those products? The next question is why is it necessary to advertise a product that no one can legally buy without the written authority of the medical profession? There is currently an inquiry going on in Washington where our esteemed Congressmen are trying to figure this out.

I don’t know about you, but I pay my doctors a great deal of money to know what is the best medicine for me. I expect them to do the research. I expect them to read the literature. They have many years of formal education and continue to learn of the latest advances in medication. The last thing on earth my medical pros need is my suggestions as to the proper method and treatment of my ailments. I tell them where it hurts and I leave the rest up to them.

Those among you who know me, know that I am a capitalist in every aspect of my being. I believe producers should be able to market their product in the best way they know how. If they think advertising on TV works for them, then I don’t have a problem. But, and it is a big but, I cannot legally buy their product without someone else’s consent which is based on license, education, and other legal authority. In my thinking advertising just becomes another added cost of an already overpriced product.

I have asked my doctor about this and she says that she really doesn’t pay any attention to her patients who suggest various medications based on their advertisements. Personally I’m glad she feels this way. I cannot understand how any competent physician could give any credence to uneducated opinions from patients who only know what the ads tell them. Plus the disclaimers in the ads are often in the smallest of small print.

This then is the deal. Prescription medication is getting more and more expensive. How many millions of dollars are spent advertising these medications? I believe the drug companies should be looking for ways to reduce their costs of production rather than adding to them. If I could diagnose my medical problems, I wouldn’t need to pay a doctor to do it for me. If I could then go to the nearest pharmacy and buy any drugs I felt I needed, prescriptions wouldn’t be necessary. Of course the reality is I can’t. Even if I were a physician I wouldn’t diagnose myself.

The only other question I have is this. How does the couple in the erectile dysfunction ads always find two bathtubs out in the middle of a field just waiting for them? And why do they need them? And what does that have to do with e.d.? Oh well, I guess there are just some things better left to the imagination.

Ron Scarbro May 12, 2008


Anonymous said...

I have often wondered the same thing. What does a bathtub have to do with E D? Perhaps it would be better if they used the boy scout's motto. The fact of the matter is that our drug companies have such large returns on their invested capitol that it is perfectly obvious that they lack any social conscience. Your article is right on. A doctor that would prescribe a medication solely on his patients suggestion is at the very least a poor practitioner. A person that treats himself has a fool for a doctor.

Stacy said...

Unfortunately, your doctor, unless she is running a boutique practice, doesn't have the time or energy to keep abreast of new medicines. She counts on what her pharmaceutical reps tell her.

So you actually would be smart to make her explain to you why she's prescribing what she's prescribing (over anything else available). And then you would be smart to ask your pharmacist (who actually knows far more about medications than your doctor, OR the pharmaceutical reps advising her) if s/he thinks the RX you're about to fill could cause any problems with anything else you're taking (and this makes a very good case for using only ONE pharmacy, so all your meds are on record and the pharmacist then has access to the info s/he needs to give you that answer), and/or whether there's a different medication that would cost less and be as effective, or that just is flat out better.

In truth, we would all like to be able to trust our doctors, and I believe they do the best they can with the time they have. But what's smartest? It may not be to tell your doctor what you want her to prescribe based on a TV ad, but it probably is smart to not take her advice without question.

Great blog...:) I'm a genuine fan!