Recent years have seen increased advertising for prescription drugs on television. Pharmaceutical companies need to stop looking at the American public as "consumers," and place prescription drugs back in the hands of physicians. While televised advertising may increase their sales, it is not in the general public's best interest.
There are a number of factors involved in this form of advertising. First, it encourages average people to diagnose themselves; second, it encourages average people to believe they know the best forms of treatment. The fact is average people cannot do either of these things. What it comes down to is advising average people that they can essentially be their own physicians.
If you add these factors together, the results can range from panic to drug abuse. When a person gets the idea that he needs a medication that he does not need, or has a condition that he does not have, physicians are placed in an unfair position. Rather than making legitimate diagnoses and recommending appropriate treatments, physicians can be in the position of complying with their patients' requests. Many physicians may simply do this, without questioning the validity of whatever their patients are asking for. Proper evaluations may not be done. At its worst, physicians who are either extremely busy or lack professional ethics may have no reservations in giving patients whatever they want.
Advertising prescription drugs is not in anyone's best interest. Average people lack the knowledge to use this information wisely. Individuals who are prone to drug abuse can find it an easy way to acquire drugs. Rather than thinking about how to increase sales, pharmaceutical companies should focus on ethics. Companies that do not consider the effects this type of advertising can have on the public should simply have their advertisements banned.