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Direct-To-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceutical Drugs, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1201

Essay

Pharmaceuticals Industry

This industry comprises companies that engage in research, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of principled drugs. In the United States, $615.1 billion was generated in 2008 as total revenues while $273.9 billion went to market generators and the global market comprised of 44%. From 2004-2008, the industry has experienced continual growth and the CAGR demonstrated was of 4.7%. A rising trend within this firm for over 10 years now is the increase in promotional and advertising expenditures. It is noted that in 2001, the amount spent on R&D was doubled, and three main promotional spending areas are noted. The first one is Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA), which grew to $4,237 million in 2007 from $985 million in 1996. However, the total promotional spending under DTC is 14%.

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising

This method is one promotion method used by the pharmaceutical, and under this we have the Internet and television, but it is noted that the bulk expenditures in advertising, in the industry, is allotted to the television. Many speculations attribute the growth to the reluctant regulations imposed by FDA. Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is the direct promotion of prescription drugs to the potential patients. Their media of communication are the magazine, Internet, newspaper, and television marketing. The aim of this approach is to promote the prescriptions brand-name of drugs (DeGeorge 319). In addition, other PR mix and marketing elements include medical journal advertising, conferences, promotion and placement of favorable studies in medical journals, sales representatives’ visit to prescribers, and free sample provision for drugs. The stakeholders of this advertisement include marketers, consumers, pharmaceutical industry and even the community members. The only two countries are U.S. and New Zealand who have legalized DTCA, which has worked well for both countries. These two countries have investigated and seen the importance of using this tool to reach its target market and expand their market niche. The countries have established that the benefits associated to this marketing tool are greater than their predicaments. They have embraced the technological advances and have sued them to improve the health of their population. This method has been able to attain a huge figure of people, and this facilitates the urge for people to discover more about their body. This has seen the formation of lobby groups in Canada and Europe to protest the ban of this advertising approach.

The use of this approach has brought about many consequences; however, these companies carry considerable ethical obligations. When it comes to advertising prescription drugs, this is not the same as marketing any other product. In normal cases, advertisements are meant to persuade consumers to purchase commodities they refer to wants. Moreover, in such cases as DTCA, the marketers’ is trying to persuade the consumer to buy a need. In essence, this process is hard and thus, passes through the TARES test to make certain that consumers are not being misled (DeGeorge 320). The advertisement in question is ethical because it is descriptive of both benefits and risks linked with the drug. In addition, a toll-free digit is endowed with to consumers to verify the drugs components and the website are for researching more on the drug. Many a times, people argue that this method leads to self-diagnosis, but this is not the case because the consumer has prior information on what the drug cures. Therefore, the Internet has given patients the power to refute those drugs that are harmful to their health.

Since this promotion is ethical, the deontological view point that summarizes the points is the principle of justice by Rawl (Phillip and Lee 62). In this case, one’s morality is inclusive of more than one value and hence, he adopts the “priority problem” perspective. During the formulation of the drug ads, researchers have been able to do priority ranking that accepts those with relevant information of principles applied from different available values. As such Rawl uses the “lexical priority rankings and thus, justice in his case is exercised in terms of having free and equal persons agreeing to basic social cooperation terms. However, the conditions need to be fair to engage the purpose of the advertisement (Phillip and Lee 63). If we look at the utilitarianism view, he postulates that an individual should morally choose the policy that will enable him maximize on utility. Utility in this case is individual good. According to Rawl’s, this is an informed satisfaction desire on the part of pharmaceuticals. Industries should remember the rights theories (Libertarianism) under deontological ethics, which covers respect for all humans (Rawls 42). Hence, actions need to be right morally, and individuals are legally free to do whatsoever they please so long as other people’s rights are not impinged in the process (Wong and Eugene 174). The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) believes that DTCA if presented in an ethical and responsible way will have value to the end-user.

Nevertheless, this concept of DTCA is viewed as immoral when the pharmaceutical industry starts selling drugs that are below their standards. According to Kant, this is termed as an immoral act because the categorical imperative is not adhered to, by looking at their standards as individuals and not that of the community or society (Wong and Eugene 175). Additionally, pharmacists need to resist the temptation of making promises that cannot be fulfilled. Pharmaceutical firms need to desist from activities that will ruin their relationship with potential and existing companies because it leads to a contradiction. Immorality is an enemy to all stakeholders because all parties end up losing. Furthermore, morality and rationality are connected and thus, these industries need to investigate on drugs being advertised to reduce the chances of selling drugs that do not add value to consumers (Wong and Eugene 177). The greed of many industries is to be able to attract a bigger market share without giving regard to the needs of their customers. This immoral act is present among many businesses and should be discouraged.

In conclusion, this form of advertising accents flaw of consumers and offers them a solution through advertisement of the product. An ethical DTCA educates consumers on their prevailing illness and does not persuade to believe that they have contracted the illness. This method acknowledges the presence of other means to cure a disease and thus, one is given the freedom to exercise his rights of freedom. The two positions (Rawl’s and Kant’s) given, elaborate how consumers need to weigh their decisions before purchasing drugs over the counter. In society, direct-to-consumer advertising is present, but due to the harsh regulations imposed, scientists are at risk. Consequently, these ads aim at educating individuals and not promoting drugs in stores. The most important element to remember about DTCA is that it is not the primary growth for spending in drug prescription. The significant part for such firms is to increase return generated.

Works Cited:

DeGeorge, T. Richard, Business Ethics, 7th Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc., 2010. Print.

Phillip, Patterson, and Lee Wilkins. Media Ethics: Issues and Cases. Boston: McGraw-Hill Humanities Social, (2007): 62-64. Print.

Rawls, J. Justice as Fairness: A Restatement. E. Kelly, (Ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, (2001): 39-77. Print.

Wong, Alan, and Eugene Beckman. “An applied ethical analysis system in business.” Journal of  Business Ethics, 11.3 (1992): 173-178. Print.

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