Feb 15, 2016
The American Medical Association has launched a campaign to ban the advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices.
Drug makers spent more than 4.5 billion dollars on advertising in 2014. They use massive campaigns to promote the most expensive drugs, to champion brand-name drugs over generics, and to abuse patients’ trust with deceptive arguments. For example, a commercial for an anti-cancer drug sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb offers “the chance to live longer,” without specifying that the gain in life expectancy from this extremely expensive product is no more than three months. Gilead has spent 150 million dollars on advertising for Hepatitis C drugs that cost consumers tens of thousands of dollars.
This practice is part of the reason why drug prices are so high, even when there exists a less expensive alternative or their effectiveness is in doubt.
In the United States, as in other countries, what counts the most for drug companies is not what their medicines can do for the sick, but how much profit they can make for themselves.