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October 6, 2015

Dr. Andrew Weil doesn't like medicine commercials

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 26th 2009 2:29PM
pillsIf I were to pick one commercial genre that I can't stand it's the pharmaceutical genre. Why do we even have commercials for Lipitor or Celexa or Flomax? The ads are always telling us to "Ask our doctor" about a certain medication.

You know what? I trust my doctor to know that, if I have a particular medical problem he's going to know what treatment is best for me and which treatment I should avoid. It just seems bizarre to me (and doctors I know) that there are commercials on TV for prescription medicine, as if we are knowledgeable enough about it to make a connection to a health problem we have.

Patient: So, I saw this commercial on TV for Lipitor.
Doctor: Lipitor? Your cholesterol is fine.
Patient: I know, but the TV told me to ask you about it.
Doctor: "....."
Patient: Is that a medicine I should get if I get high cholesterol?
Doctor: Possibly. But that's something we can talk about when and if it happens. There are several cholesterol medications out there. There might be one that's better for you.
Patient: OK. What about Crestor?

Dr. Andrew Weil doesn't like them either. In this article at The Huffington Post, he talks about it might be unhealthy for people to listen to commercials for medicine, especially if the medication is pitched by a celebrity, like Sally Field, who does ads for Boniva.

[via Brandfreak]

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I watched network news everyday for years until I realized network news is just newsy entertainment packaged to keep viewers in front of the television until the next medicine commercial. I mean the tidbits of news presented are enough to only superficially inform, and certainly not enough to make me want to watch another pill commercial which are far too frequent. Those commercials are shown over and over, evening after evening after evening. It's sickening.

As purveyors of mostly senior medicines via commercials, network news probably does a fine job influencing the aged population unfamiliar with Google News and other splendid news sources having no commercials at all.

But I'm certain pharmaceutical companies thrive from consumers having branded prescription medicine names at the top of their minds when visiting their doctors. Yet I too think the medicine commercials are far too numerous and influential. Instead, I think there should be fewer medicine commercials where they suggest, "Ask your doctor." Yes, those commercials are very effective.

Where physicians should remain in the objective position of recommending appropriate medical treatment, patients suggesting or otherwise influencing the physician's opinion or choice of medicine and brand is happening widely.

It's clear people still watching their favorite outdated network news when convenient or as a habit are willing victims of a pervasive and very successful pharmaceutical advertising strategy.

I no longer watch network news.

September 02 2009 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric Cotton

I can't even watch network news live anymore. It's a constant barrage of pharmaceutical commercials. Nowadays I use my DVR to watch the news later, when I can scan thru the commercials.

August 26 2009 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Dr. Weil, and he couldn't be more right about this topic.

22.4% of the budget to advertising, and only 13.4% to R&D???? Are you kidding me?? You're a drug company, your R&D should be WAY more important and larger than your advertising budget. That's mind boggling.

And it's definitely true. My friends from other countries laugh and are stunned when they see these commercials, as they should be. We should be too.

August 26 2009 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The thing that bothers me is the list of potential side effects always sound worse than the condition that the drug is supposed to treat.

August 26 2009 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite part is having to explain "natural male enhancement" commercials to my kids - that's charming. Really, is there some reason they can't save those until after 9pm?

August 26 2009 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Got ya, but you know my problem? Half the time they don't tell you what the medication is for, just ask your doctor.

August 26 2009 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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