The number of ads for prescription and non-prescription medicine on television is disturbing. These ads generally begin by addressing disease symptoms, then suggest a medicine for relief of these symptoms and finally indicate possible scary side effects.
One drawback of the ads is exposure of the public to a condition similar to “medical student’s disease” — a syndrome developed by as many as 70 percent of medical students in which the study of a disease leads to intense anxiety about contracting the disease or delusions of having the disease. It is probably not too much of a stretch to suggest that people exposed repeatedly to medication ads might develop similar problems and seek unnecessary treatment.
Another drawback is that viewers may self-diagnose and visit their doctor, demanding a specific medication for a condition they may not have. In addition, these types of advertisements may lead people to believe that a pill exists for any condition that may ail them. Finally, the money that pharmaceutical firms spend on these ads could possibly be better used to lower the cost of medications.
Overall, advertisements for medications may be making us sicker.
Robert J. Boes
Comments are closed.