This is an interesting question about banning drug commercials, and one that challenges our rights to free speech. Drug companies have every right to advertise their products as much as other companies, but look what’s happening to the population that abuse drugs. Remember the actor Corey Haim? He overdosed, and he practiced the fine art of doctor shopping. Doctor shopping is simply getting different prescriptions for the same malady from different doctors. It is a common practice that drug abusers use all the time to get their fix satiated, and is just one example of our drug immersed culture. But the real issue is the power and influence of the drug companies themselves, and their right to advertise a product that can have devastating consequences in the wrong hands.
The problem in our society is that for every medical or physical problem that exists, there seems to be a drug that claims to cure it! However, what about some of the horrible side effects with some of these drugs? Sure, when a drug commercial shows its creative and fantastical commercials about how “such and such” disease has been cured, they then devote about two seconds of mind numbing small print that no one can read about side effects! Come on, is this fair? Even when the narrator of the commercial starts reeling off the list of possible side effects, it’s just too fast to absorb. The FCC needs to crack down on the drug companies and the commercials they air. We’re talking about some serious drugs here, and they’re not to be taken lightly.
The argument is really one of responsibility, the responsibility we all have to watch what we eat, drink, and consume drug-wise. People are going to take drugs, legal and illegal. That is a fact, and nothing is going to change that. But that is not the issue either, it is one of moderation. It’s also one of education. Assume a patient who is not familiar with drug interactions gets prescribed by his or her doctor a particular drug for the ailment. Is the patient supposed to know every single potential hazard with this drug, including all the interactions that are possible? It takes doctors years to acquire this knowledge, so how is the ordinary layman supposed to know this? Especially when suffering a particular ailment?
It might be time for the FCC to regulate more stringently the drug commercials on television and radio. There are just too many serious and devastating consequences that an unknowing public needs to know. And the subject of drugs and side effects is far too complicated to show in a thirty-second TV commercial.