With the high speed of development of modern technologies, especially new approaches and discoveries in medicine, which is an essential part of community services, the quality and the quantity of drug advertising improves, as well. Because drugs and medicaments are usually used to affect one’s health directly in a particular way, this fact causes great concerns. On one hand, persons must be aware of what they can do if the situation is critical and there is no opportunity to be consulted by a professional doctor. On the other hand, such awareness can sometimes lead to unexpected and even tragic results, rooting from poor acknowledgment of the medical rules and peculiarities that most of the society suffers from. If to look at the situation from a deontological point of view (Kant 114), one must, first and foremost, search for the reason or motivation for drug advertising. From the initial perspective, the reason is quite logic and simple: drug companies are interested in selling as many medications as they can since this circumstance increases their profits. However, if one researches the issue carefully, more profound and controversial reasons and motivations will be found.
The pragmatic effect of almost every advertisement is to show the audience the benefits of a particular service or goods. The more psychologically better constructed is the advertisement the better will be the potential customer believing that this service or goods suits their need, and the more they will be confident that they have this very need at the moment. This is the basic principle of advertising. The negative effect of this is the following. A person who is influenced by such an advertisement gradually acquires a feeling that the usage of the drug is simple, it has no serious side effects. In addition, it will immediately help to solve the health situation that one is suffering from. In fact, this is not true. Most medicaments are strongly recommended to apply only after doctor’s prescription and individual instructions that will suit the needs of this or that patient. Moreover, this aggravates the situation with disease diagnostics because less people will visit a doctor if the solution lies on the surface, requiring only a pharmacy to be visited. Unfortunately, most of the people do not have even the most basic medical knowledge to apply the medicament in a right way and to the right disease. While the true reason of their health problem can be hidden, and it will develop if not being treated properly.
There are also other reasons of pharmaceutical companies being so willing to advertise their production. The brightest example of this is antibiotics. Many people know that too frequent usage of the same antibiotic is useless as the organism gets used to it, and this medicament defeats the illness no more. Hence, it is logical to try another medicine with the same effect. Firstly, this requires additional money, and secondly, antibiotics are generally harmful, as a matter of fact. Because of this, they require further treatment by probiotics or other drugs. Also, which is not of the least important, this causes a general negative effect on the health and financial situation of the society (Finberg et al. 1314) since more and more people cannot be protected by this or that particular medicine. This condition stimulates new and new investments into pharmaceutics to develop new and new drugs for the same reason, while this money could be spent on other issues of public life.
The situation in such developed countries as the USA and New Zealand seems more optimistic because strict drug selling laws are enforced. Furthermore, these countries have a strong system of public health insurance that proves to prevent the society from buying medications before being consulted by a doctor. Moreover, many medicines are spread without charge, but only after diagnostics and a doctor’s prescription. This makes the society more aware about the seriousness of the issue. In fact, the rate of self-curing in these countries is rather low.
It is quite a controversial problem if advertising drugs is ethical as every person chooses for oneself whether to buy drugs on his or her own or visit a specialist previously. There are also small companies and even independent entrepreneurs that use illegal methods of advertising, and force people into buying drugs that, in most cases, are unnecessary or inappropriate, or, what is the saddest, of low quality and harmful. As research shows, “Marketing to health care providers takes four main forms: gifting, detailing, drug samples, and sponsoring continuing medical education” (Sufrin and Ross 585), which is initially not very ethical, referring to health of a person.
From this, we can make a conclusion that the general effect of drug advertising is rather negative. The main reasons of this are inappropriate drug usage, huge financial losses, worsening of ill-treated diseases that progress without proper medical control, and the general negative economic effect that is caused by inadequate allocation of financial resources.