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.
Regarding the impact of the practice on the populations where I serve in my nursing practice, direct-to-consumer advertising has resulted in better-informed consumers. This is evident from the fact that a significant number of patients usually learn about treatable health conditions from components of drug advertising, and this is what encourages them to seek help from a clinician. As a result, this increases the chances of them getting the improved quality of care. Similarly, direct-to-customer has played an important role based on experience in my nursing practice population, by reaching out to low-income consumers and giving them information and motivation to reach out for medical help (Ritter & Graham, 2016). Hence, based on my observation, the practice has taken a significant role in promoting health prevention and wellness in the populations.
On the ethics surrounding direct-to-consumer advertising, the practice can be inappropriate for advertising drugs for life-threatening diseases such as cancer. This is because an advert on such severe conditions cannot be explained with the few seconds that an ad runs on. Doing so could result in severe effects because it is impossible to understand all the aspects of a drug in the form of an advertisement (Hlubocky et al., 2020). Further, patients may be filled from false hope from the information presented by the medical ad only to be disappointed later that they do not meet the criteria because of failing to understand the instructions or information presented.
Reply 2 Disc 5
Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is a type of advertising and marketing of pharmaceutical prescribed products directly to consumers (patients) as opposed to targeting the health professionals (Weinmeyer, 2013). It is normally conducted through mass media platforms like magazines, television, and online platforms. DTCA is completely legal in the United States and New Zeeland, but is subject to various regulations concerning a balanced disclosure of the drug’s benefits and risks that include contraindications and side effects (Weinmeyer, 2013). Regulations about the DTCA are usually applied in when advertising products that describe the prescription’s benefits, indications, and may be lenient concerning advertising materials that do not discuss the uses.
Direct-to-consumer advertising have some negative impacts in nursing practice and general healthcare sector (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2015). The adverts have attracted the attention of many people in the community that I serve because advertising agents use manipulating tactics to attract a large number of consumers. In some cases, the adverts may be misleading to the consumers. This affects health care practices and our interaction with patients. Initially, prescription drug makers normally promoted their various products exclusively to medical and other health care professionals who will then interpret drug information to the patients. Currently, some drug manufacturers are advertising and marketing their products directly to consumers, just to increase their sales and profit margins (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2015). Some patients have been complaining that many DTC ads usually make the prescribed drugs seem effective and better than how that really are. This is due to manipulative nature of commercial marketing tactics employed by the drug manufacturers.
Many health care professionals are currently spending their enforcement and compliance activities to ensure that drug manufacturers do not low-ball risks in their adverts and give inflated expectations related to the benefits of their products (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2015). Some cases of drug overdose have been reported in the community that I serve in my nursing practice due to DTCA activities. This is because the aim of these drug manufacturers is just to increase their sales and profit edges; not oriented on the health needs of the consumers and possible side effects of these products.
In addition to regulatory concerns related to DTCA, there are various ethics arising from this practice. The extent to which this practice may unduly in affect the prescription of drugs to patients based on their demands have some ethical considerations (Weinmeyer, 2013). For example, some prescribed directed by the patients may not be medically necessary for his/her health condition or there may be other available cheaper options. Prescribing drugs that may not be medically necessary for the patient affect the ethical principle of beneficence. According to beneficence ethical principle, nurses should be engaged in practices that benefits the patients. The inability to explore the contraindications and side effect breaches the ethical principle of non-maleficence because it may lead to harm on the consumers (Weinmeyer, 2013). Focusing only on increasing the demands of these drugs and maximizing the sales and profits have a negative impact on the ethical principle of justice.
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