One reason health care is so expensive is pharmaceutical companies spend so much money buying TV and magazine ads to teach us about our health problems we weren’t even aware of (restless leg syndrome, anyone?) then provide the wonderdrugs to cure the maladies.
Congressmen are targeting the practice, called direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, as part of the health care reform push, USA Today reports:
“There are legitimate reasons to criticize DTC, but it doesn’t cause problems for pricing, it raises demand,” says Bob Ehrlich, CEO of DTC Perspectives, a publishing and consulting company that specializes in DTC marketing. “As a citizen you have to take it for what it’s worth. It’s advertising. But it’s advertising that has to be true.”
Perhaps Viagra and Cialis will one day no longer be able do battle during timeouts of NFL broadcasts and magazine pages. But don’t expect to see DTC go down without a fight. Drug companies see a 40 percent return on investment from the ads, the story says, so they’ll call in whatever favors they can to keep DTC erect.
Push is on to end prescription drug ads targeting consumers [USA Today]