Since the year 1997, direct-to-customer-advertising for pharmaceuticals as in the case study has been legal. However, despite having been legalized for a relatively short period, its impact on the advertising scope of United States healthcare has been significant compared to other countries all over the globe. For instance, from 1997 to 2016, there was a 361% increase in the direct-to-customer drug marketing budgets from $1.3 billion to $6 billion (Messeroff & Heuer, 2020). While direct-to-customer advertising is associated with specific positive impacts, the commercials often result in patients being misled and could lead to the breakdown of the relationship between the doctor and the patient. According to studies to determine the pros and cons of the practice, the assumption is that when the patients see the ads that are related to their symptoms or condition, they would reach out to the physician and thus facilitating the healthcare process (Pean et al., 2019). This has been supported by studies that have indicated that the use of direct-to-customer advertising to promote prescription drugs, as in the case, facilitates increases in the volume of drugs sale. For instance, according to studies, prescription drugs promoted through ads received seven times more prescriptions compared to those without ads. While this may be a good intention, direct-to-customer advertising as in the case study indicated high chances of affecting the relationship between the doctor and the patient (Ritter & Graham, 2016). In another survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, 65% of the physicians indicated that ads on drugs usually sent misleading information to the patients, while 8% of them stated how patients pressurized them to prescribe drugs they learned through direct-to-customer advertising (Sarpatwari et al., 2019). This has been supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), which has raised concerns about the increased effect of ads spiking demand for expensive medication despite the existence of less costly and clinically efficient treatments. The stand by AMA suggests the cynicism surrounding the direct-to-customer advertising, such as in the case study. This is a significant concern because if a vast association of clinicians in the nation is raising concerns over the practice, then it must surely not be desirable.
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