Prescription Drug Advertising – Con

Lyndsey Case, Social media manager

As a consumer, It is nearly impossible to not run into advertisements promoting various prescription drugs. Ads can range from prescription inhaler medication to digestive problems to skin issues and so on. Typically, when viewing a prescription drug ad on television, consumers like to note the extensive list of ‘side effects’ to the drugs, but the problem that researchers have found, does not lie in the side effects, but rather in misinformation.


With many prescription drugs being advertised on the market, 63% of physicians surveyed in April 2013 believed prescription drug ads misinformed patients, and 74% of physicians believe prescription drug ads overemphasized the benefits of the drugs according to an article found on prescription drug ads emphasize the benefits of their product, placing little focus on if the drug is adequately suitable for the interested consumer. This leads the consumer to be misinformed about the use of the drug, which can lead to an unnecessary and unsafe prescription. Though it is the doctors that write the prescription, the advertisements allow a way for consumers to be swayed into convincing doctors that that prescription is right for them, possibly exaggerating their real symptoms, to fit the criteria for that specific medication.


  1. Lee Ventola, researcher, states that, “the FDA does not approve ads before they air on TV or radio, yet 50% of consumers surveyed thought DTC prescription drug ads were approved by the government.” The idea that a drug advertisement has to be approved by the FDA causes consumers to assume that that medication is safe for them to use. The drug is approved, but the commercials for that drug, do not need to be approved. This means that the commercials are allowed to say whatever they desire about the drug, regardless if it is true or not.

Due to the influx of prescription drug advertisements in the media, the misinformation often presented in these ads leads to over-medicating patients and misinformed and unsafe consumer prescription use.