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    Pharmaceutical company, direct-to-Consumer advertising and nursing ethics

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    I need guidance or your input on considering the rate of the marketing of medical/pharmaceutical products by the drug companies. There is growing concern from consumer groups and the medical community regarding current marketing practices which result in overconsumption or no medical benefit. What do you think their impact is on social values, morals norms and the nursing practice itself?

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    Solution Preview

    The problem is that the US is a corporation/consumer nation. That means that corporations do whatever they feel is necessary to make a profit while consumers try to get "things" at the best possible prices. I'll call this "The Battle." In the 1980's, the federal government allowed drug companies to advertise directly to the public instead of through physicians and pharmacists. This is known as Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Advertisements. From the Food and Drug Administration website:
    "DTC ads are published in magazines and newspapers that are distributed to a general audience rather than to healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. DTC ads can also be broadcast through television or radio. Other types of materials, such as brochures, booklets, or pamphlets distributed to patients, caregivers, or other non-healthcare providers are considered DTC promotions. While many people would think these are ads, they are technically considered a different category, called promotional labeling."
    So now doctors and nurses are caught up in The Battle between drug companies and patients and this becomes an ethical or moral issue for us. Patients have certain concrete expectations when they walk into a doctor's office. They want ...

    Solution Summary

    The answer addresses the question about how Direct-to-Consumer Advertisements affect patient expectations and the nursing ethics involved with that method. What should morally occur when a patient walks into a clinic waving a magazine ad and demanding that the physician prescribe that certain medication? From the pharmaceutical company's viewpoint, advertising is a way to maximize profits. There are certain tactics patients can use if they don't get their intended results which is "I want this pill now because this ad promises me that I will get better fast."
    A case study is provided.