HOW DO THE DRUG ADS AND OTHER FACTORS AFFECT THE WAY DENTISTS PRESCRIBE MEDICATIONS AND HAS PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE INCREASED THE OVERALL COST OF HEALTH CARE? pp. 33-37
Authors: (Kim L. Capehart, University of Phoenix)
Abstract: Dentistry has been linked to the pharmaceutical world since its infancy. Since the dentist, Dr. Horace Wells attempt to utilize nitrous oxide in 1844 in Hartford, Connecticut1; dentistry has utilized drugs to treat a myriad of conditions and diseases. The way all practitioners prescribe medications are affected by many factors and looking after the patient’s well-being is paramount. Many experts have examined the effect of prescription medicine on the cost of overall health care in the United States. One cannot discuss health care without speaking of the exponential growth of prescription drugs. The Baby Boom generation currently represents a large percentage of the U.S. population which was born 1946 to 1964. It is appropriate to mention this segment of the population as this is a large percentage of the population that will be retiring which requires more medications and care. In recent years, the public has been suspicious of the pharmaceutical costs rising faster than the inflation rate2. There are a plethora of topics that have caused this rise in pharmaceutical products including direct-toconsumer advertising (DTCA); the aging population; and the costs of drug development such as testing, research and development. A recent trend has been a mass media blitz on consumers about pharmaceutical products. The generic term for this mass media drug advertising is called direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) which encompasses television, radio, magazines, billboards, and any other source of media. Since the FDA relaxed its rules concerning mass media advertising for prescription drugs in 19973, much has been written on the effects of DTC and physicians response. A March 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 2,608 physicians found that prescription drug advertising does have an impact on patient/provider relations. DTC Advertising for pharmaceuticals yields increased drug requests4. Recent surveys by the FDA and Prevention magazine confirm that consumers are very aware of prescription drug advertising and also indicate that the ads have a significant influence on consumer behavior. A 1999 FDA telephone survey of 1,081 consumers found that three-quarters remembered seeing a prescription drug ad. About 25 percent said they asked a doctor about a condition or illness referred in the ad; 13% asked for a specific drug and about half got it5. Since the FDA “relaxed” its rules concerning pharmaceutical advertising, spending went from $1.1 billion in 1997 to $2.5 billion in 20006. Other research has indicated that DTC has made its mark on consumers as well as affecting the patient/doctor relationship. According to the National Institute for Health Care Management Research (NIHCM), the 50 most advertised drugs in 2000 were responsible for 47.8 percent ($9.9 million) of the $20.8 billion. The remaining 52 percent was accounted for by the 9,850 other drugs on the market7. DTCA has definitely made a great impact on prescription medications over the last ten to fifteen years.