False information from the big drug companies
We frequently hear that the U.S. pharmaceutical companies have to charge so much for their drugs because of the amount of money they spend on the research and development of new drugs. The truth is that European drug companies spend just as much on research and development but charge much less for their drugs.
However, the European companies don’t spend the billions of dollars on TV advertisements and ads on radio and in magazines. They also don’t spend the billions of dollars on lobbyists that the U.S. companies do.
An article in today’s New York Times noted that 4.8 billion dollars is spent annually by U.S. drug companies on advertising. Then add to that the millions of dollars spent on lobbyists and mailings to doctors’ offices.
The U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries that allow drug companies to advertise. Some new bills introduced to Congress will hopefully begin to regulate how the drug companies are allowed to advertise. Their ads do a great disservice to the public.
Many ads are simply untrue such as that ad that only one brand of aspirin can help prevent heart attacks. Aspirin is aspirin, no matter what the brand.
Therefore, buyer beware, is always a good motto.
Written by Charlotte E. Thompson, M.D.