Don’t Fall for Drug Company Advertising

Have you ever asked your doctor for a new drug you saw on TV? Many people have, in fact, one-fifth of the respondents to a Consumer’s Report survey said they had asked their doctor for a drug they saw on TV or elsewhere.  Moreover, nearly 70% of the time, their doctor said yes! In other words, drug companies want you to see the ad on TV and then go ask your doctor for the drug.  Do not fall for this sales tactic.

In 2008, drug companies spent nearly $5 billion in direct-to-consumer advertising. This includes TV, radio, magazine ads and others. The drugs that are advertised, like Lunesta®, Nexium®, and Cymbalta®, are the newest and most expensive drugs on the market. In most cases, these drugs do not represent new treatments. They simply are newer versions of older, less expensive and tried and true therapies.

For example, Nexium®, the “purple pill” is used for heartburn. You will need a doctor’s appointment and a prescription for Nexium®. The cost for thirty Nexium® pills is approximately $200.00.

Pri-losec-OTC® (or omeprazole), is an older, very effective drug that also reduces the acid in your stomach. This drug is available without a prescription. You can buy it over-the-counter at the drugstore. The cost for thirty Pri-losec-OTC®, is approximately $15.00.

Don’t fall for drug company advertising. When you see the ads for new drugs on TV, hear on the radio or read about in magazines, you need to realize that this is a sales tool used by the drug companies to sell their new drugs. After seeing the ad, they want you to ask your doctor to prescribe this medication for you. In many cases, this is not the best drug for you.

Do not pressure your doctor to prescribe a drug, just because you saw it on TV. Your doctor will use a drug that he is familiar with and that will work best for you.

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