Is This The End Of Prescription Drug Ads?

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
In an announcement earlier this week, the American Medical Association (AMA) called for a ban on advertisements for prescription drugs, citing a vicious cycle of expenses as the root of the decision. It was only a few months ago that it looked like we had reached peak pharma ad, with pharmaceutical companies spending a whopping $4.5 billion in 2014 to market drugs — and this certainly came at a price. "Direct-to-consumer advertising…inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs," explained Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, in the announcement.

Harris added that the prices of many prescription drugs have escalated to the point that patients forego necessary treatment in order to save money. On the other hand, patients who can afford pricey pharmaceuticals are more likely to take the most expensive route because they've been led to believe that's the best course of action. This stems from the culture surrounding prescription drugs in the United States, stoked by — you guessed it — direct-to-consumer ads.

The U.S. is one of only two countries that permits this type of ad, and unsurprisingly, the assumption that pharmaceuticals are literal cure-alls seems to permeate our collective mindset. With any luck, the banning of direct-to-consumer ads will lead to a decrease in spending and in needless medication.

All that said, if we do see these ads go, it will be with a slightly heavy heart; the existential horror of sitting through a Cialis ad with your parents should be a required rite of passage for all middle schoolers.
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