“Just Say No” – to Drug Commercials

TV commercials for prescription drugs are fairly common, usually tailing out with a brief warning to “ask your doctor if X drug is right for you.”

The short spots often focus on sexual or extremely personal problems, like sexual impotency or restless bladder syndrome. They usually ask a few questions too, like “do you have problems with those intimate moments?” or “aren’t you tired of going to the bathroom several times a night?”

The answers to those questions are getting dangerous, or so say representatives in Congress. They’ve introduced a new bill, called the Say No to Drug Ads Act, which prevents pharmaceutical companies from deducting the cost of direct-to-consumer drug ads as a business expense.

The bill may hope to discourage these ads from appearing altogether. Congressmen are concerned that many people are self-diagnosing ailments using the suggestive language from these ads and insisting that their doctors prescribe the medication recommended by the commercial.

However, that is not the stated intention of the bill. Supporters say that the bill simply hopes to end tax breaks for companies who advertise drugs on television, and that there will be stricter regulations about how they appeal to their target markets so there is no deceptive information given, nor important information left out.

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