man watching television

Q. Commercials that advertise prescription medicines on TV are my pet peeve. How can we STOP them? I would like to see them go the way of cigarette commercials.

Doctors should be prescribing the drugs people need without the rest of the world being subjected to these irritating commercials. I’m sure many others agree with me. How can we make our voice heard?

A. We have taken many informal polls and found very few people enjoy watching prescription drug ads. Doctors aren’t fond of them either, since patients may try to press for brand name drugs they have seen on TV.

The FDA seems disinclined to do anything to curb these commercials. A ban would require an act of Congress.

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  1. An

    Please please stop these RX comercials!!!! I’m sick of watching and listening to to the 4 minutes of disgusting blood ..cells..death.etc….stopppppppp!!!!! I quickly change the channel or mute them ALL!!!

    • Sarah

      YES. Stop the televised disease & drug peddling. It’s enough that all this garbage is leached into our drinking water— second hand blood thinners, psych. drugs, etc…. I don’t need it. Why do I have to take it. And what about people who are allergic to certain drugs. WE NEED FILTRATION systems as part of our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness rights. AND less TV pollution. It used to be illegal. “Sad.”

  2. Andie

    I have always found TV to be a great source of entertainment after a hard day at work. This is how it should be. Unfortunately we are now bombarded by drug pusher commercials. Gone are the days when we had a release from the stress of the day. We pay a pretty penny to the cable companies to watch TV and find ourselves fast forwarding through the numerous commercials most of which include those depressing ads from the drug pushers suggesting that we should take there drug and further giving us in full detail all of the life threatening side affects that can ensue. I feel so concerned for my granddaughters to be exposed to this as it is forming thoughts in their minds about the need to take drugs to survive in this world. Has greed become so important to corporate America!! I feel so sad that this is the direction we are taking. I’m not sure why the drug companies need to advertise as they make tremendous profits. Why don’t they use this money to help all the young children with cancer & other horrible diseases. It is just so sad to see the greed of these companies.

  3. Scott

    The characters in the commercials look and act so stupid and phony to the point of complete irritation. They sure do enjoy life and travel to exotic locations. Happy, happy, happy. Being sick physically or mentally is not glamorous.

  4. Jim

    The problem with these pervasive ridiculous ads for any type of malady is not the ads themselves but what it portends. The amount of money these compnies are making off these wonder drugs has to be insane. This all started in the early 90s when corporations started buying up hospitals. Its not about healing anymore, just big business and profits. So sad.

  5. Stu H.

    I am worried about those young enough not to remember life without these pervasive ads! They will grow up to be patients and _doctors_! Remember also that the pharma companies are courting the doctors directly at work as well as subjecting them to the ads after work. Enough money can brainwash some of the most well-meaning individuals and it will unless the drug vendors are more heavily restricted. But remember, the big money and brainwashing extends to congress as well. It is a worthy but up-hill battle.

  6. Stephanie

    Sick of seeing vaginal dryness, ED, and depression ads. It is enough to give us these things. Where are the days of kool aid man and toys when kids ask for them now they ask hey mom what is ED?!!

  7. S

    Cannot stand not one more BIG PHARMA COMMERCIAL! I have been muting them out… but now will just stop watching! No more nightly news.. doesn’t matter what station.. they are all the same… I’m sick alright… by the constant never ending sales pitches of pharmaceuticals!

  8. Joe Cro

    These super annoying medicine infomercials are out of control. As consumers, where do you legally obtain a prescription? Not at the store. The pharmacy is where you get a prescription. These companies have so much money and power they can buy virtually unlimited ad slots across all media platforms. A tax write off is more than likely the cause of these never ending horrible intrusive ads from big pharma. A doctor decides the medicine that will be prescribed to the patient not a 3 to 4 minute long ad.

    The United States already has an alarming rate of prescription drug abuse, the last thing we need is to be constantly bombarded with drug ads. Ridiculous! We do not see tobacco ads any longer. Why should this be any different. Many of these drugs end up killing and hurting people down the road. A companies bottom line matters more than a consumers good health. Another example of corporate America controlling the US government and FCC. How could anyone be good with this?

  9. W.R. Martin

    These commercials are irritating. It is ironic you see an advertisement for drugs, then you see a legal commercial for damages caused by drugs. The dangers of some drugs are no different than cigarettes and you do not see tobacco commercials on t.v. anymore. Furthermore, drugs promote abuse among many of people, who view the advertisements. Let us fight to have these commercials removed from t.v.

  10. Den

    The television commercial shown are usually forced anti-psychotics ending with the word your child. Such a sad scene viewing 210 pharmaceutical television broadcasts per day.

  11. Jbl

    I despise these commercials and I think we should reengage on this discussion. Also, we should setup a poll and distribute in a form of a petition to get them removed. I am happy to help.

  12. R Royer

    I am so tired of these Rx commercials. To me, the pharmaceutical companies are no different than drug pushers on the streets. They just found a legal way to push drugs on television. Putting ideas in peoples minds that they need these drugs, when really, they don’t. And lets not forget about SUGGESTIVE ILLNESSES, where people are told that they might have this new acronym of an illness that appears to be made up. And with the millions of dollars that these companies spend to make these stupid commercials, they are driving the cost of the actual medicine up to unreachable prices, so even if it is an actual legitimate medicine that might work, people cant afford them.
    One thing that they don’t mention is the amount of people that take these medicines, that it doesn’t do a damn thing for. So, with the money that was spent to get these inefficient drugs, the pharmaceutical company pockets this money, leaving us broke and still sick. You don’t hear them saying, money back guaranteed if unsatisfied, do you?
    In my opinion, my family doctor keeps up with the medicines available to the public and he is the ONLY person that should be talking to me about medicines. Not the stupid television.

  13. J.D.

    My wife and I are lucky and do not need to take any prescription drugs. We are so tired of the commercials and remember the good ol’ days when there were not any of them. Avoiding them with a Tivo is starting to look good to me!

  14. KB

    How can you refuse the drugs that you’re told you need to stay healthy by your doctor? What gets me is when they try to “sell” you the medication and you’re not even qualified to assess your own health. Then the medication has one good effect (your leg stops wiggling) and you get 15 side effects: daytime sleepiness, nausea, aggravate sleep apnea, vomiting, etc.

  15. MrDFW

    Some 235 billion a year is spent on prescriptions with only 8 billion on new drug prescriptions –
    This tells only part of the story. What about the return of last years new addicts and the years before adding to the 235 billion. The pharms rely on addiction to perpetuate their existence. How more sinister could one get? Sure by cutting off the advertising on media the bottom line would be hurt for the companies who need continued profit beyond exorbitant, but they also need to feel they have the upper hand in making policy.
    Any bully in any situation fears the loss of his ability to stand and portray he is bigger and better than his questioner. Therefore if we try to remove their ability to advertise, they will only find other ways to express their domination. I can see it already: Take this medication or else you will die earlier than if you did not take our drugs.
    We as a culture should stand together with the rest of the world and not allow prescription drugs to be an everyday part of our lives.
    This alone will stop the bullying.

  16. Connie

    I agree with you completely. I get so disgusted every time I want to relax and watch tv. Some commercial is trying to push some medicine, and the part about the possible side effects is just as long as the rest of the ad! I really get ticked off over those Viagra ads my God! There are already enough sex-crazed maniacs in this country already without recruiting more of them! I purposely watched the Canadian station to see if they showed anything like the commercials on American television, so far I haven’t seen it.
    Are the people who are promoting all this garbage insane? Or do they really brainwash people into buying all these medicines? I know it’s not everyone in America, but there is certainly some corruption, and subliminal poison going on.

  17. mike m

    As for me I too am sick of these druggies hawking their drugs all through the television shows. No wonder why we are gouged to death on medicine while the Canaidians are paying fair prices. Get rid of these ads and medicine could be cheaper. What ever happened to the good ole days of television when we had family friendly shows and ads to put with them. As for me I either pressed “MUTE” on the remote or I watch movies either on TCM, FMC, or my dvd’s where they are all completely drug free.

  18. agy

    I recently read that only 7% of the world’s population lives in the U.S.A. but 62% of the world’s prescription medication is taken in the U.S.A. !!!

  19. DJS

    OMG – I am SO sick of all the drug commercials on TV. Fortunately TIVO right through most of them. With magazines, before I read them, I go through and rip out all the cards, ads, etc. In mags, drug ads are easy to tear out because they’re usually printed on both sides of one page (all the warnings on back side of ad), so you don’t lose the content.

  20. Denise G.

    The USA is only one of two countries currently allowing drug commercials on television and the other country is considering legislation to ban this type of advertising. Let’s write our congress and tell them we want this stopped. When we tell teens to avoid drugs, but have hours of commercials for drugs – that doesn’t make sense.

  21. Lynn

    While I agree with mr that it is good to know all the potential side effects before taking a medicine, I don’t think we need commercials for this information. All such information is provided with your prescription, usually by the pharmacy and often as an insert with the actual medicine packaging. This is a FDA regulation that all such side effects be provided.

  22. mr

    I don’t enjoy listening to the drug ads, but in that they are factual, i.e. informing us of potential side effects, I’d certainly rather be informed prior to taking them than not. Considering all the possible negative side effects it surprises me that the pharmaceutical companies do air them. I view them as educational and am glad that they are required to ‘inform’ the public, as it’s possible that people may not read the fine print that comes with prescriptions.

  23. Frank S.

    I rely on my doctor to prescribe proper medications. These commercials really irritate me — especially, since I know that they indirectly add to the price of the medicine.

  24. Larry W.

    I think the commercials are only the tip of the iceberg. The pharmaceutical industry has dominated the medical field in America. In Japan, e.g., doctors are much freer to offer hyperbaric oxygen treatment, accupuncture — a variety of options that may best fit the patient’s need. We are a nation of druggies!

  25. JAD

    I am a retired healthcare professional and like other retirees am disgusted by the exorbitant cost of medications. Perhaps if Congress legislated against TV drug ads (which I am sure are extremely expensive), our drug costs would be more affordable. If Canada can do it, why not the USA? But I can just hear the drug lobbyists now!!

  26. JP

    Don’t forget about magazines too! These ads are taking up a lot of space in those also.
    The more ads I see on TV and in magazines for prescription medicines, the less I trust the medical and pharmaceutical profession and the more I look to natural cures for what ails me.

  27. alxzba

    Do not blame your government for TV ads pushing drugs. If the public refused to purchase the drugs, the companies would quit airing the ads. Don’t rely on government control of your life. The gvt should regulate when companies violate ethical standards.

  28. Bob

    The TV commercials for drugs are disgusting. Some are offensive. I turn the channel when the E.D. commercials are run. Drugs are being pushed at us from very angle. We are certainly a sick society. The drug companies tell us so every day. I am thankful they were not on the air during my childhood.

  29. Ruby

    I wish that was the same rule here in the US. Doctors should prescribe real name brand medication that is proven to help people. No commercials and untested/experimental generic drug confusion. All of this greed isn’t helping anyone.

  30. GC

    These types of Rx commercials are banned on Canadian TV.
    Life in the US is all about greed, money, money, Rx’s, Rx’s and more Rx’s…blame your state and federal governments

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