One of the things that surprised me while I was over in the United States (California) this year was the sheer number and never ending stream of advertisements for prescription medicine on both television and radio.

It’s a ridiculous amount of hard, direct to consumer advertising that basically tells you if you feel something is slightly wrong, you should definitely see your doctor and ask him for drug X. (Thankfully though, the adverts are all forced to list major side effects of the advertised medicine as well, leading to quite interesting adverts where you learn that you can cure an upset stomach at the potential cost of developing low blood pressure).


Apparently in most parts of the world, this direct advertisement of prescription medicine to the public is deemed illegal, and I’m not sure as to whether or not that applies here in South Africa – but I do know that we don’t see half as many of these adverts as what the poor Americans are forced to sit through.

The team over at Vox had a look at this issue, weighing in on both the positive and negative impact that this massive surge in prescription medicine advertising on TV has on Americans:

A difficult one for sure. I suspect that I’m a bit on the fence here: I get the being better informed part definitely, but the concern of people pressuring doctors to prescribe medicine when it isn’t really necessary – that’s a bit worrying, isn’t it?

That said, this is America we are talking about. Rampant capitalism and all that…

Related Link: Vox | YouTube