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NY Times story finally scheduled to run - Playing » AmyHarmon

Posted by Nickengland on November 17, 2005, at 12:24:07

In reply to NY Times story finally scheduled to run, posted by AmyHarmon on November 15, 2005, at 21:22:24

Hi Amy Harmon,

>I’m looking for people to interview for an article about the growing number of Americans who are self-diagnosing their own ailments and self-prescribing their own remedies.

When you say "Americans" may I ask why you chose to use other than American people from your news report (Explained further below) By that I also mean you came here to interview people, with which you then use the head line - Young, Assured and Playing Pharmacist to Friends. Basically you're suggesting we are here "playing" - when one plays are they playing games, instruments etc? - as a child I used to play doctors and nurses. Now the media, is directly advertising to the public that as a grown adult the mentally ill are (the young ones) a culture who are now playing the role of a Pharmacist? Which truth is it that you have led the millions of readers to believe here with your story? When one plays a game is there a loser and a winner? ~ who are you making out to be the loser and the winner with your title?

>Another regular participant, known as "med-empowered," replied that the poster was out of luck, and went on to suggest a private e-mail exchange: "I think I know some sites where you could post your experience and also get info about more reliable sites."

The other poster who was - as you say or is it both posters you're saying are playing? One of them however is not from the US (not stated to the reader). He is from the UK. You stated you was looking to interview people from the US and asked questions about Direct-to-consumer drug advertising in another post. Direct to consumer advertising is illegal in the UK - but the growing trend of your perception in the US of people playing - is somewhat influenced by Direct-to-consumer drug advertising. On the other hand the relevant issue with which you quoted in your report, is relevant to the UK reader - with which opens up a whole new can of worms - to which is about UK issues...not confusing the issue with Americans and drug advertising. We don't have that. We have the NHS though which is equally as good. If this was printed in the UK Do you think an accurate description describing issues about the NHS health system, would be accurate and relevant to a reader in New York effected by Direct-to-consumer drug advertising? Would a case put forward backed up by academic research, scientific medical analysis, from a health reporter establish clearly the link and state it as follows - or would they summerise the mentally ill on a global basis as playing?

> "Which ones to take, many advertisements suggest, is largely a matter of personal choice."

Thats interesting - what about the "poster" who you quote, who is firstly not from the US, therefore I did not see that your article address other countries, and you specifically asked for people in the US, secondly he was asking how to get a refund, not how to purchase, as this was done through his privite business - which is not for the US readers of New York to be told is illegal, when US laws differ from UK - which again is touching on why is he purchasing in the first place?...because of the UK health sytem ~ the NHS, relevant to the UK and of course don't get me wrong please let the New York Readers know about why we across the water might be purchasing goods from an internet website and discussing such matters via personal email. Is your email contents viewed as personal, or public to millions of readers? And how accurate would it be for me to predict how you view stigma towards the mentally ill for instance when you publically describe them as playing to treat serious genetic mental illness? Play with the doctor and you might get burned. Play with yourself you may well keep out of the fire. Watch the media play with the public ~ and do you think that the level and perception of stigma rises or reduces with the surfaces you have touched upon? I speak for myself here about playing, as you've included UK people in your quote, I'd like to bring to your attention that i'm a grown adult who doesn't play with Consultant Psychiatrists and the heads of Pharmacists at hospitals when reaching drugs decisions to treat the symptoms of incurable biological illness.

>(in quotes: "Amy Harmon") in the search box. Or, you can just Google me and a rather random selection of my past stories… - 3rd result down.

>Although the focus changed somewhat, as often happens with projects like these (I ended up focusing on young people, for instance), Psycho-Babble does make a brief appearance, and many of your comments gave me valuable insight into the subject.

How much of the focus was already in place before the story went into print?

>Direct-to-consumer drug advertising, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, has for most of their adult lives sent the message that pills offer a cure for any ill. Which ones to take, many advertisements suggest, is largely a matter of personal choice.

True to the US reader. However you used a UK reader in your quote ;-) A matter of personal choice?

*News Flash*


The European Union currently forbids advertising of
prescription drugs to the public, as do all other
countries except the United States and New Zealand.
This restriction on advertising is part of the
protection offered to the public by prescription-only

Why maintain the current ban on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of
prescription drugs?
• DTC advertising drives up prescription drugs costs, threatening the
sustainability of national health care services and universal access to health care as a
fundamental human right.

• DTC advertising fails to inform. It does not provide the impartial, objective
information consumers and patients need for informed health care decisions.

• DTC advertising compromises public safety. It can lead to rapid widespread
exposure to dangerous drugs before risks are fully recognized, as occurred with
troglitazone (Rezulin) for diabetes and cisapride (Propulsid) for nighttime heartburn in the
US. Additionally, most new drugs are costlier than existing treatments, but few provide any
therapeutic advantage.

• DTC advertising promotes the medicalisation of normal life. The most heavily
advertised drugs are for long-term use by large target audiences, often for mild conditions
and ‘lifestyle’ problems that may not need drug therapy.

The US experience – drug costs
out of control
Spending on DTC advertising has grown exponentially
in the US within the last decade, from $55
million in 1991 to $2.5 billion in 2000. If DTCA did
not stimulate sales, companies would not be spending
more and more each year on this marketing

>>>>>>>>>>If the money was spent on advertising was instead used for reducing stigma - making the public aware about the issues - researching develepments for more accurate diagnostic testing and drug treatment - maybe the media perception would not be that we are playing - when perhaps we are forced to do so by the media advertising itself - in effect of course - i'm playing guessing now, a minute ago the media had the public to believe I was playing pharmacist?!

Top 50 DTC advertised drugs responsible for
large cost increases
- In 2000 over 95% of DTC advertising spending
was on 50 drugs;
- These 50 drugs had combined retail sales of
$41.3 billion;
- This was nearly one third of total US retail
prescription drug spending in 2000;
- These 50 drugs were responsible for $9.94
billion of the $20.8 billion increase in US
retail prescription drug spending from 1999 to
2000, or 47.8% of this increase.

>>>>>>>>> Online interent pharmacies are not cheap - whats further interesting is on the one hand in the US you're advertised a product - with which you cannot actually buy without a prescription.... Hmmm. On the other hand you're very ill with what the doctor is giving you - the adverts/media are sending mixed messages...what do you do, you can't think properly because your mentally ill - but then hey - its your choice - when your read the papers.

The bottom line: why does the industry want
legislative change?
A US market research firm, PERQ/CHI analyzed the
returns on investments for print and television DTC
ads in 1999, based on spending and sales data supplied
by 25 major manufacturers. On each dollar
invested in DTC advertising, the average return was
$1.69 for TV ads alone; $2.51 for magazine advertising,
and $2.11 for campaigns involving a mix of
print and TV ads. (PERQ/CHI, 1999) These are
impressive returns – but they also mean impossible
costs for public and private drug plans.

“Aggressive direct-to-patient marketing by pharmaceutical companies, high prices for new drugs are
making prescription drugs one of the major costs of health care. This issue is not being given the attention it
deserves. It’s time to put science ahead of marketing.”

Health Action International (HAI) is an informal network of some
150 consumer, health, development action and other public
interest groups involved in health and pharmaceutical issues in
more than 70 countries.

>Feel free to agree or disagree -- I'm here to learn.

Me too, I learnt a lot today about culture, media, type of advertising, stigma perception and the NY Times.

Kind regards





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