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Monday, January 28, 2008

Pharmaceutical Companies Spend Double on Ads than they do on Research

I was not surprised when I read the latest study by Marc-André Gagnon and Joel Lexchin saying that Pharmaceutical Companies spent twice on advertising than they did on research last year but it nevertheless sickened me. Maybe it's too fresh in my mind, the way my doctors used to try and get me to "try this new drug" or "that new drug" for pain, sleep and depression (even though I was not depressed). Funnily enough they were usually the ones being advertised on TV at the same time (Oh those relaxing Lunesta commercials...). Maybe I am annoyed because I rarely decide to watch TV and now I cannot even relax for one show because of the non-stop drug ads. Perhaps I am upset because I thought that the point of a pharmaceutical company was to actually research cures for dis-ease instead of being greedy and trying to market medicines to people that don't even need them.

Whatever the reason(s) for my contempt the fact remains as Gagnon and Lexchin point out in their study that US Pharmaceutical companies last year spent $31.5 BILLION on research and development and (an under-estimated amount of) $57.7 BILLION on advertising. WHY? Because as I point out in my posts:

It has been a LONG time since people's health was the primary concern of the Big Pharmaceutical Companies. Greed and money making is now #1.

My question is why did it become allowed for pharmaceutical companies to advertise at all? Smoking cigarettes can help some people to relax but they banned those ads because of the negative health effects. Somehow it is okay to advertise a pill that can do just as much damage. Half the time the issue/problem at hand is mentioned for 1-2 seconds in the beginning of the commercial and the rest of the time is spent on how good this pill will make you feel and on the numerous side-effects (spoken in a quiet but happy voice). Another interesting point is that drug ads are illegal in every country except America and New Zealand as stated on Dr. Mercola's site.

Sorry, I am confused. I thought when you were ill or feeling badly you sought out a doctor and they would do tests, talk to you, analyze results and THEN recommend treatment which may or may not involve a prescription. I know times have changed but at what cost? Does it really benefit ANYONE to see these commercials? Are there people with illnesses at home waiting for the right drug ad to come on so they can call their doctor for a prescription? I think it is time people start to say they don't want to see these ads. I personally would rather the drug companies spend their money researching cancer and other illnesses and coming up with ways to treat those illnesses. I don't need to see an ad to know if I am sick and need treatment. Half of the medicines I was put on have now been recalled or are under serious scrutiny. Maybe if they had spent the time on researching long-term effects instead of launching their new ad campaigns there would be fewer drugs being recalled. My mom is ill with a cancer that has few treatment options and I would MUCH rather they spent the money on research for that. I don't want or need to sit through ANY more drugs commercials!

When I sought out a naturopath in my community he told me how medical practice had changed dramatically in the last 25 years. He recounted that he used to get monthly binders filled with the latest medical research. He said instead he now received binders filled with advertisements and incentives for prescribing the latest pharmaceuticals. He told me the binders had between 1%-5% of articles on research and 95%-99% incentives and advertisements -- he even got out a binder to prove his point. So not only are pharmaceutical companies actively advertising in the media but they are romancing doctors with promises and rewards.

The most important thing for you to do is to be aware of all treatment options for any illness. Be aware of natural ways to heal. Be conscious of your thoughts and what toll your emotional health is playing on your physical health. Get a doctor that knows of all treatment options. Visit sites like those of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Deepak Chopra. Get informed and take charge of your health and encourage those around you to do the same. If you need to find a holistic doctor in your area use this search. I am always available for more research possibilities and information. Obviously this is an area I am passionate about. I don't mean any disrespect to the people out there that are researching and developing pharmaceuticals with good intentions. There are of course good people working at pharmaceutical companies as well. But somehow priorities got skewed and greed won out and I am hoping that I see things shift back and will do whatever I can to make that happen.


Peter said...

I am amazed at the amount of advertising the Pharmaceutical companies do here in North America. It is nothing like this is Australia.....

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Peter, Nope, not like this anywhere else... don't quite understand how it has been allowed to get this bad but am looking into what I can do about it. Thanks for coming by and for commenting. Gratefully, Jenny

Ed said...

Not only do they spend more on advertising, but they lie about their research. There have been two pieces in the news, recently, about companies not fully disclosing everything about their research. For instance in Anti-depressant research, over 30% of the studies were not published. And guess what, those were the ones that showed the drug did not work.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hey Ed, Yep, it is a sad state of affairs... I saw the article on the anti-depressants as well. The best way to handle it is to be well informed and to inform others. I'm doing all I can to get the word out... I've tried to take it up with the Big Companies and the FTC but funnily enough they don't have easy ways to make complaints... hmmm -- wonder why? I'm not giving up though! Thanks for coming by. Gratefully, Jenny

Liara Covert said...

It would appear people will believe what they choose. We can believe we are sick and believe a drug exists to cure what we think we have, or we can believe what we experience is incurable. We can also evolve to realize that our thoughts and emotions have an incredible effect on what we feel and experience. To find the truth, we have to make our way to the soul.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Liara, What a wonderful journey it is to the soul. I have learned so much in the last year. I agree -- we believe what we choose. Thanks for coming by and commenting Liara! Gratefully, Jenny

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