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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Study Blasts TV Drug Ads

Study Blasts TV Drug Ads

A study came out a few days ago showing that pharmaceutical ads are based on emotion rather than fact. Just watch the commercial and you see that the people in them are unbelievably excited about their new prescription. They feature people telling their friends about how wonderful it is and read just like a warning label, with more disclaimers than information. Below are some excerpts from the article on Live Science.

Pharmaceutical companies spent an estimated $1.9 billion on TV advertising in 2005.
Ninety-five percent of ads made "emotional appeals," and 78 percent implied that use of the medication would result in social approval. Fifty-eight percent of the time, products were depicted as medical breakthroughs.
According to the new study, only two developed countries -- the United States and New Zealand -- allow drug companies as much unfettered access to the TV airwaves. In fact, the average American television viewer now spends 16 hours a year watching prescription drug ads, "far exceeding the average time spent with a primary care physician,"

Basically, the pharmaceutical companies only care about getting more people on their drugs. Most of these drugs are either for made up diseases (Restless Legs Syndrome) or are created to treat a symptom (anything for cholesterol). Here's a thought when it comes time for a prescription: is it a long-term course of action? If it is, you are likely being treated for a symptom rather than a disease. From a business perspective, this is the best thing for Big Pharma's pockets; you take a drug for the rest of your life, never actually treating any underlying causes, but it makes you feel better, so you think you are better.

And there are the obligatory side effects, which are often worse than whatever it is you're being treated for. "Try some Rogaine. Get your hair back. And have a 1 in 50 shot of being impotent. But who cares? At least you'll have your hair." It is telling that Big Pharma spends more on TV advertising than most companies make in profit in a single year. You can hardly watch a 30-minute show without seeing at least one ad for drugs. We are a nation of pill-poppers and the pharmaceutical companies are getting rich off or our laziness. Everyone wants a quick pill to fix anything that their sedentary, sugar-filled lifestyle has caused, from diabetes and obesity to allergies. And in our American way, we are allowing commercial interests to override social interests by allowing Big Pharma all the access they want to our advertising mediums, including our kids. This all bodes poorly.

There is one very simple way to avoid nearly all prescriptions. Eat a healthful, whole foods diet. That means meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, oils (palm, olive, and coconut), little starch, and no sugar. Sugar and grains have numerous deleterious effects in the body, damaging the immune system and causing the bacterial environment of the intestines to get out of whack. And get some exercise too.