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Direct-To-Consumer Prescription Drugs

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                        Direct-to-consumer Prescription Drugs




        Direct-to-consumer advertising has been under criticism of critics for many years. Some critics of advertising have accused this method of advertising as questioning need, branding and self diagnosing. In this paper I will state my stance on the morality of Direct-to-consumer advertising in reference to the pharmaceutical aspect upon Americans. I will derive my opinion on the morality based on Kant's Categorial Imperative approach.

        Prescription drugs are pharmaceutical prescribed drugs that a medical physician has to be physically prescribed and picked up at a pharmacy. You can not buy these medications over the counter. Many reasons for this include: possible side effects, not found to be safe if unsupervised and must me be monitored by a physician while taking. Many people find this very inconvenient and deters people from taking the proper medications that they need. People do not like to go to the doctor and do not get the proper medications needed because of this. This leads to many preventable deaths each year.

        Pharmaceutical representatives come to doctor offices weekly to promote new medications for different ailments. These samples given are free to the physician and he is encouraged to prescribe the new medications and get “kick backs” from the pharmaceutical compony. Kick backs are dividends payable to the doctor depending on how many new medications are prescribed and filled.

        Up until 1985, many medications were unknown. Prescription drugs could not be advertised directly to consumers. In 1985, the Food and Drug Administration passed a ruling that allowed direct market to consumer advertising for magazines. All side effects had to be clearly listed and the consumer had to be aware.In 1997, the FDA ruled that pharmaceutical drugs could be advertised on television only containing the major dangers of the drug were permissible. “In 2004, the FDA further relaxed regulations concerning DTCPA, eliminating the need to reprint complete prescribing information in print product claim ads and allowing the inclusion of a “simplified brief summary” instead. This change allowed pharmaceutical companies to present information on only the “major risks” and in simplified language that would be easier for the average consumer to understand” (Ventola).

        I find that this practice is unethical. Kant's Categorial Imperative states: When we do something because it is our moral duty, Kant argued, we are motivated by the thought that, insofar as we are rational beings, we must act only as this fundamental law of  practical reason prescribes, a law that would prescribe how any rational being in our circumstances should act.

        Medical personnel go to school for a very long time to be in the profession they are in. Their job is to see the ill and make them feel better. They diagnose and medicate properly if need be. Our televisions are now plastered with commercial advertisements about prescription medication. It could be anything from skin problem to urinary to sexual functions.  The list of possible dangerous side effects is rushed at the end and not really understandable. People see that their problem was on TV and has an end. This is an unethical aspect of advertising. The people will see this as an end all to their illness. They decide to go to the doctor, only state the symptoms as heard on the ad, and want that particular prescription. This might work for people, some not. This particular medication might be what they need, on the other hand, it may not. There are many different medications in production that do the same thing. I believe that people will want the one they saw on television not knowing that there is a cheaper alternative that works just as well if not better. Ultimately costing the patient more out of pocket. The doctor might be more apt to prescribed said medication due to incentive kick backs to them as well.



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