Conrad and Leither develop a noteworthy view of the impact of the advertising of pharmaceuticals on the consumer behavior and the market. They argue that “the advertising of pharmaceuticals is becoming more like the advertising of over-the-counter medications”¯ (Conrad & Leither, 275). At first glance, such a change in the advertising of pharmaceuticals is the mere shift toward commercialization and aggressive promotion of specific products. However, such a shift in advertising is really dangerous because it may shape the consumer behavior, regardless of their specific health condition. Consumers having problems with their health may be vulnerable to the impact of advertising and they may be willing to purchase pharmaceuticals they know of from advertising, while these pharmaceuticals may be dangerous for their health. As a result, if a physician refuses prescribing the pharmaceuticals to such a patient, the conflict between the patient and physician is virtually inevitable. Such a conflict may undermine the effectiveness of the treatment of the patient.
Conrad and Leither argue that the contemporary advertising of pharmaceuticals make the contemporary health care system slipping toward the late-19th century health care system, when the sale of medicaments was virtually without any control and people could purchase medicaments they believed to be helpful. Today, the advertising makes pharmaceuticals close to over-the-counter drugs, although they need the prescription of a physician. The authors argue that such advertising is dangerous because people are likely to take decisions on the ground of advertising and purchase drugs without consulting their physicians. As a result, they may develop serious health problems. The authors argue that the FDA should change its policies, especially in regard to the advertising of pharmaceuticals.