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A Voice in the Dark

In AD 2101 war was beginning. What happen? Someone set up us the bomb! We get signal. What? Main screen turn on. It's you. How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us!! You are on the way to destruction. What you say? You have no chance to survive. Make your time. HA HA HA HA.... Take off every 'Zig' You know what you doing! Move 'Zig' For great justice.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Prescription drug advertising

Cafe Hayek has a post on advertising prescription drugs.

I don't think the problem is so much the advertising as it is the advertising of a product which cannot be legally provided without the recommendation of a professional. I don't think anyone is proposing that we ban, for example, NyQuil advertisements. If you can buy it over the counter, then it can and should be advertised directly to the consumer. But when you CANNOT buy it over the counter, this is essentially a governmental ruling that the average consumer is not qualified to determine his need for the product.

Commercials for prescription drugs amount to a coach, describing the symptoms you should report (and the symptoms you should NOT report) to demonstrate to your doctor that you should be given this pill. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you want that cute little purple pill, Nexium, you should listen to Nexium's commercials for a perfect description of the ideal candidate. Parrot this description to your doctor, and he will be perfectly willing to prescribe Nexium as long as you don't have obvious disqualifying symptoms.

This is virtually the same thing as making the drug available over the counter. A reasonably intelligent person who wants the drug can get the drug with little difficulty, regardless of whether it is the right drug. And to make matters worse, the doctor... responding in good faith to the symptoms reported by his patient... is often obligating an insurance company to foot the bill.

The issue here is not whether a company can advertise, it is whether a company can advertise something to people who cannot legitimately buy it, and in the process educate them as to how they can obtain it.

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