New FDA Guidelines will make you feel Like the Fool!

New FDA Guidelines will make you feel Like the Fool!

Did you know that the US and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer marketing for prescription drugs? In the US the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is proposing new rules that will allow them to eliminate listing side effects of a drug on their television commercials (TVCs). Currently they spend a whopping $5 billion each year on advertising. This is vitally important to health.

If you didn’t know, drug TVCs are nothing new in the US.  We regularly see and hear about all the side effects, including sometimes death. However, I will argue that death is NOT just a side effect. But what happens if these new rules are passed and we get even less information?

What most of us don’t think about is that these drug companies see us only as customers and not as patients. They have entire sales teams out on the front lines talking to doctors about promoting their drugs and filling our TV screens with commercials to get you buying their product– even if it’s not a good product–or worse still it may kill you.

But the crazy thing is that most of us don’t look at ourselves from a health value perspective. For me the drug companies see people as dollar signs and spend billions on effective marketing strategies that flood our media. Many people get sucked into the misconception that “drugs are good” for them.

On the flip side is that if you’re about to die from a massive infection, an antibiotic can actually save your life. But if you have acid reflux, taking a pill everyday is not the solution and can actually harm your body in the long run. The drug companies have been so effective with their advertising that people reach for the drug without thinking about the side effects.


#1 Drug companies complain that listing all the possible side effects whilst filming a TVC can take up most of the air time time and that consumers (that’s you, their customer) tune out and don’t get to hear about all the great benefits (if any).

#2 Drug companies have said they feel “shackled” to these rules and it prevents them from being more creative. Translation--more creative means more distraction and brainwashing you into thinking that your life will be better with the new prescription drug.

If seventy-five percent of a 60 second TV commercial is all about the drugs side effects, shouldn’t this raise a red flag? Americans have become so desensitised to the deadly side effects on drugs that they’ve come to expect it. What other industry can advertise death as a potential side affect, and still make billions of dollars?

It’s time to wake up and realise that not all drug companies have your best interests at heart; some are simply trying to increase their sales. As a certified nurse, I have to meet with a drug sales representatives and discuss some critical questions like “how does the drug work?” “What are the side effects?” and I have to say I cringe. Most don’t really know all the answers or try to deflect them making me cringe.

Sometimes the mechanism of the drug action is unknown, but the FDA still approves them. The craziest thing is that the majority of the population don’t really understand that drug companies just want to make money so they target you and are very successful converting people into believing they need all the drugs that are advertised. Like drinking too much Kool-Aid (sugary drink).

I strongly suggest don’t drink the Kool-Aid!

Words by Jaclyn Shedde 2017
Photo courtesy of on Unsplash

A version of this article was previously published on Jaclyn Shedden’s blog with consent by the author.