I was thumbing through my copy of Newsweek recently. The magazine seems to have gotten less interesting and the 'look' of it has become stark and kind of bland, in my opinion. So, there wasn't much goin' on, but in the middle of this slender package of print was a SIX page ad for Seroquel XR. Four of those pages were fine-print, package insert stuff.
Holy crap, I just stared at this monstrosity. Of course, there are many ads in Newsweek for prescription drugs, but this was ridiculous. I'm guessing it's not cheap to run a 6-page ad in any magazine. This is certainly reflected in the price of Seroquel XR, your extended-release version of the already expensive Seroquel that's out there now.
I'm conflicted about direct-to-consumer advertising. I don't think prescription drugs should be a black hole of mystery to people. There may be times when one of these ads gets someone to actually go to the doctor for help, or to have their cholesterol checked, or whatever. We Americans watch our media, you gotta say that. But of course the argument is that if the drug companies weren't paying for this advertising, maybe they could lower their prices. Somehow I don't have a lot of faith in that either.
I do think that every drug ad should be required to state the price of the drug. In a big red box, right at the top of the ad --- the average, cash-paying American customer price. Then maybe people won't look wide-eyed at their Advair/Lipitor/Plavix/Seroquel XR receipt, next to the copay price, and say "Wow, is that how much it REALLY is?"
It sure is, Pharmacy Customer, it suuuurrrre is.