Have you ever watched a commercial for a certain type of medication and felt tempted to ask your doctor if it’s right for you? This wouldn’t be surprising, considering how we are bombarded by pharmaceutical advertising on a daily basis. Despite our own weaknesses, however, surely we can trust our doctors to be less susceptible to advertising and more objective when prescribing medications, right? After all, these medical professionals make their workplace decisions based on more significant factors, don’t they?
According to a study published in PLoS Medicine, the medications that doctors prescribe can be heavily influenced by pharmaceutical advertising that doctors are exposed to. In order to determine the effects of advertising on physicians, Joel Lexchin of York University analyzed studies from the United States, Australia, Europe, and Canada. What he found was that there was a spike in prescriptions of certain types of brand name medications after doctors were exposed to advertisements for them–a trend that may not be in patients’ best interest.
“Many doctors claim they aren’t influenced by the information provided by pharmaceutical companies. Our research clearly shows that they are–and the influence is negative,” Lexchin said. “Unfortunately, patients are the ones getting a raw deal. If doctors are inundated with advertising from brand name companies, they are more likely to prescribe that brand name, regardless of whether it’s best for the patient.”
(Source: Docs not immune to drug marketing: study co-authored by York U prof. Retrieved from news.yorku.ca.)