The editors of Scientific American take on direct-to-consumer drug advertisements in the US. “Peddling pharmaceuticals on TV is a lousy form of health education,” they write, “and it can also drive up medical costs.”
When the FCC banned cigarette ads, it was based on sound evidence that smoking was dangerous to your health. Their action implies that the public needed protection from the seductive ads. I believe that was a smart decision. I also believe the public, ordinary consumers and would-be consumers, could easily be influenced by these wily ads. The ads, for all the reasons mentioned in the article, are designed to convince viewers that this drug is a magic bullet for what ails them. The FCC needs to take the medicine they prescribe for others and do the right thing.