Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Peter Coyote, this means you!

There's something that's been bugging me for a while now. Is it ethical for a Drug Company to hire a distinguished narrator from TV documentaries to do the voice-over for their commercials? Or conversely, is it ethical for narrators to lend the authority of their recognizable voices to said commercials?

Somehow this seems like "dirty pool" to me. The FTC (or some-such Federal Agency) banned actors posing as doctors from doing commercials a long time ago. Yet, when the familiar voice of a respected narrator of a Nature or National Geographic Special is touting the latest allergy remedy, it subliminally lends credence and respectability to that product in the same way.

This is just one of the ways that Big Drug Companies try to sway us into asking our doctors to prescribe the latest new drugs. The newest drugs don't have any generic counterparts yet so they can charge top dollar. This is fine-and-dandy if you have good prescription coverage. If you don't, you must stick to the lower cost generic drugs even if a newer one is more effective.

The Big Drug Companies say the high cost of new drugs is justified because of the expensive process of developing them. They gloss over the high cost of advertising said drugs on TV, magazines and newspapers--not to mention the pricey "seduction" techniques they use on the medical establishment to promote their products.

I have a friend who has been on older psychotropic drugs for some years now. They no longer have much effect. Her psychiatrist told her some of the newer drugs might help her but they're so expensive she's stuck with the kind she can get at Target for $4.

Sometimes Capitalism sucks!


Bevie said...

I have to be careful what I say here. However, suffice to say that the drug companies do not sit at the top of the heap. They are played off, one against each other, by the big distribution companies. These are the companies which make purchases in such large quantities they pretty much control what they will pay. (Like what Wal-Mart does.)

And while it is not so easy for end-of-the-line consumers to return medications, it is VERY easy for these distribution companies to return product. Which they do. Often. VERY often.

The bottom line, of course, is that we who sit at the end of the chain have to pay horrendous prices for the medicines we need, or be forced to take lower-grade generics by insurance companies - who are also ripping off both the pharmacies and the end consumer.

And for the record, I agree with you about the advertising.

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow! The Wall-Mart factor rears its ugly head again. All the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing sorta makes you sick. They take advantage of their employees and customers every chance they get. (Have you worked in the distribution field in the past?)

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Well luckily I don't watch television, so I can remain unswayed by the voice-over seduction attempt! But it sure does seem like dirty pool.

Bevie said...

Spouse and I own a gift business. Also, I have a little knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.