Ask Your EU Doctors About

No this is not a spam post.

While in the United States I usually watch a bit of television and I definitely spend time listening to the radio.  One thing you’ll have no problem encountering on both of these mediums: ads that include the phrase “ASk Your Doctor About…” and then some perscription drug to help some ailment.  Apparently the public should then go to their doctors and tell THEM what drugs they want.

In the European Union this practice has long been banned. No ads with senior citizens strolling on the beach recommending that you ask your doctor about some brilliant new drug.

However, this October the EU will roll out new pharmaceutical policies that are intended to, in their words, “Modernize” the rules for the pharma industry.  One of the provisions they’re putting forward will allow the pharma industry to provide “additional information” to the public via the media.  Which of course would make it possible for some sort of television ad within Europe that presents viewers with what the industry seems additional info, whatever that means in the end.

Various medical organizations throughout Europe as well as Ministries of Health, are sounding the alarms, concerned that this is one step towards the US style onsluaght of ads suggestion you need to ask your doctor about this and that drug in order to happily walk through the forest.  The industry, meanwhile, insists that they would have no interest in that type of information campaign, and would instead want this to free them up for internet based info that people can request, rather than have it pushed on them.  Meanwhile, advocates of the changes insist that there are many other useful policies included in the package, and that there would be some oversight as to what would be deemed suitable additional information.

This change sounds like the first of many on the road towards a US style system where pharmaceutical companies treat people more like customers than patients. Beyond that, makes medicine ever more like a business than a service. Is it too late to stop them? I will try to find out.

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5 thoughts on “Ask Your EU Doctors About

  • August 9, 2008 at 7:14 pm
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    I swear Mark, everyday I want to live in Europe a little bit more.

  • August 10, 2008 at 12:47 am
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    Hey Mark, long time no comment but I note your comment about comments.
    In Canada we’re subject to a barrage of US “ask your doctor” so-called “direct-to-consumer” drug ads on cable and in the magazines abounding on our supermarket checkouts. Health Canada can’t regulate this although it can control Canadian media.
    See Hebert’s article in the Canadian Medical Assoc. Journal for more information. Weird how New Zealand allows dtc ads.
    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/179/2/119?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=advertising&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWCIT

    • August 12, 2008 at 2:20 am
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      Hi Andrew.. glad to see you. Spam filter held you for a while.. guess because of the link and the med references. Ill read and learn. interesting that canadian media CAN be controlled for this.. but once its cable.. its right back to ASK YOUR doctor. kind of annoying and I imagine most people have cable.. so theyre subject to these ads quite often.

  • August 11, 2008 at 11:31 am
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    Better hurry, Its is becoming more like the US everyday.

    • August 12, 2008 at 2:18 am
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      Yeah.. we need to figure out some kind of defense against all this.

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