Call for ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription meds boosted by Consumer survey


Call for ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription meds boosted by Consumer survey

Colourful pills
A Consumer NZ survey of 1000 people shows 57 per cent of respondents want direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines banned
New Zealand and the US are the only two countries in the developed world that allowed direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines. T


It's a shame that some of the most highly educated members of our society, doctors, feel the need to be protected from their patients having the temerity to have an opinion on their treatment. I'm sure they have the intelligence to engage in a debate that convinces their patient to follow their advice. But here's the rub, a ban on DTC advertising won't stop this because there's a thing called the internet full of advice, good, bad and bogus. Oh, and then there's social media where chat groups operate unfettered (mainly) and opinions good, bad and bogus are shared. At least with DTC advertising, there is a rigorous set of guidelines around what can be claimed and there's a tried and true approval and censure process in place.

Consumer NZ is concerned about over prescribing. Let's take asthma advertising as an example. NZ has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. What possible harm could the delivery of an advertisement for an asthma medication have? At the very worst it could trigger an enquiry with a GP or asthma educator. If that enquiry leads to a prescription for better asthma control for that patient then bring on over prescribing I say.

On the subject of over prescribing, There's no argument that one of the biggest concerns is the over prescribing of antibiotics. Just saying, but I can't remember a DTC ad for antibiotics in my living memory so perhaps the issue of over prescribing has its origins in other areas more fundamental to the delivery of primary care.