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Why Are There So Many Pharmaceutical Ads on TV?

If the constant pharmaceutical ads on television are giving you a headache, there's a simple cure -- move to another country. The United States and New Zealand are the only two nations that allow direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising; in other countries, it is left to physicians to recommend prescription drugs to patients who need them. This loophole has proven lucrative for American pharmaceutical companies, as drug manufacturers are able to target their products at those who are the most likely to be interested -- seniors. Television shows commonly enjoyed by older adults, such as nightly news programs, soap operas, and certain sitcoms, are seen as the perfect place for pharmaceutical ads, and the trend is growing, with the proliferation of such commercials increasing by more than 60 percent in the past six years alone. And while groups like the American Medical Association want a ban on the ads, efforts to enact one have so far been unsuccessful.

A dose of pharmaceutical facts:

  • Companies spend approximately $4 billion USD on research and testing for every new drug that gets approved.

  • One of the most expensive prescription drugs in the world is eculizumab (sold under the trade name Soliris), a treatment for a rare blood disorder, which costs patients about $400,000 USD a year.

  • You can thank pharmacists for some of your favorite refreshing beverages. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and ginger ale were all invented by pharmacists.

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More Info: USA Today

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