The Ethics of Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising

According to the article "The Ethics of Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising," clients in the United States and New Zealand are practically alone among citizens of industrialized countries in being associated with prescription medicine advertising. The advertisement is regarded to be a sales pitch for specific drugs. The author further claims that the pharmaceutical business is pressuring the European Union to allow individual corporations to promote their products to European customers. The modifications are expected to be implemented since direct-to-consumer advertising spending has surged significantly. The article enumerates that the amount and expense of direct-to-consumer advertising has increased substantially over the past 20 years. Food and Drug Administration lifted its voluntary moratorium on DTC advertising because the consumers were effectively protected by the existing regulations as of 1985. In 1997, the FDA issued new regulations for meeting the adequate provision needs. The author further indicates that guidelines under FDA were finalized in 1999 because the legal requirements consisted of reference to a website, healthcare professional as an additional resource and a toll-free phone number where interaction could be instigated.

The pharmaceutical industry indicates that DTC advertisements play a valuable function in educating clients. It is true as DTC is perceived to needlessly increase the cost of pharmaceuticals because of the fact that it encourages the over-medication of clients as the overall message is that drugs are the best solution for normal experiences like depression and anxiety. Thus, DTC advertisement has to be instigated in the right manner, so as to evade adverse effects on the cost of health care due to the increase of unnecessary spending on pharmaceuticals. The author further indicates that the U.S government permits the utilization of advertisements and insurance organizations may not adequately dissuade patients from choosing expensive drugs.

The author further indicates that characterizing DTC advertising as manipulative is because it is implausible. The rationale is associated with the fact that DTC attempts to manipulate clients into believing a proposition that is not true. To ascertain that clients with the requisite information, attain what they desire, advertisement will have to be intelligible to significant majority of the adult population living the United States. The article also suggests that the objective of advertisements in states like the United States is to have patients interact a preference for a brand to the practitioner.

The author enumerates that as opposed to advertisements manipulating and deceiving the market, non-branded adverts can be utilized as they have the potential to take part in genuine educational functions and at the same time enhancing the revenues of pharmaceutical organizations. Then non-branded adverts ought to describe the ailment and also invite clients interested in learning more on symptoms and treatment of the ailment in question. The article demonstrates that undertaking the right move in advertising products in a genuine manner would contribute positively towards the recovery of patients and better service delivery in the healthcare sector. The overall article is significant because the author has used simple language and structure for the reader to understand the objectives in detail. Coincidentally, it is a type of article that I would use for reference and also recommend it to other readers globally.


In “The Ethics of Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising”, Denis Arnold illustrates on how clients in the United States and New Zealand are virtually alone among citizens of developed states in being connected with prescription drug marketing. The advertising is perceived to be the tout that benefits specific drugs. The essay is presented in the form of an essay where he further uses argumentative and evaluative approach to help the reader better understand his motives. The review on the debates instigated and story of pharmaceuticals and the contents of direct-to-consumer aspects and the quality of writing will generate the true picture of the article in a detailed point of view.

The introductory part of the article is interesting because he initially states that New Zealand and United States are perceived to be the only industrialized countries with the capability to take part in promoting prescription drugs. Arnold (2009), goes on to say that the practice by the two country’s is likely to change over the next few years due to the pharmaceutical industry of the European Union being lobbied to permit the practice. So as to increase the use of television commercials for prescription pharmaceutical promotion, the author demonstrates that in 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration altered its policy on direct-to-consumer promotion. Thus, the Food and Drug Administration can be perceived to have done a good entity in the healthcare industry because more drugs could be advertised to permit the market better understand the use of different drugs in the market.

Denis Arnold further demonstrates that in 1997, print media on pharmaceutical products were restricted because of the fact that media adverts consisted of all the needed content. He shows that the finalized guidelines of the media advertisement consisted of legal requirements regarding the adequate provision of content. I agree with his perception because the content consisted of reference to a website, healthcare professional and a toll-free phone number where interaction could be instigated. Moreover, I also agree with the arguments made by pharmaceuticals that direct-to-consumer advertisements are essential as they educate consumers on the drug in question. Ventola (2011), agrees that the use of the advertisement on pharmaceutical products is an essential attribute to the medical sector. While the use of direct-to-consumer advertisements may be beneficial to clients, it may also demoralize physicians because clients may end up forcing practitioners to prescribe to the particular drug as the only route to recovery. Thus, there needs to be healthcare pharmaceuticals to help in evaluating the drug before advertising it on the media.

The author offers to sides of the issue associated with direct-to-consumer advertisements of the pharmaceuticals, thus helping the reader understand from both sides. Furthermore, the author demonstrates on the rules and regulations of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) as being significant, but unfortunately the guidelines are not often practiced to the latter. The indication here is that direct-to client advertisements is a strategy that needs to be practiced with the right skills, but since guidelines are not followed, it is a dangerous approach in the market. I agree with the perception made by Ventola (2011), that the use of non-branded promotions ought to be utilized as they have the potential to play genuinely educational functions while at the same time enhance the revenues of pharmaceutical organizations. The author demonstrates that the move would accomplished with careful, non-branded promotions meant to describe the disease and at the same time invite consumers in need of learning more concerning the symptoms and treatment strategies.

Works Cited

Arnold, D. Ethics and the Business of Biomedicine, Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.

Ventola, C. Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising. Retrieved from, 2011. Web.

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