As any cursory review of history will reveal, the first independent guild of pharmacists, was established in the 17th Century England by King James 1st. Originally called “apothecaries,” early day pharmacists not only prepared and dispensed remedies,they also offered the latest in medical advice to their customers. It is to be noted that the tradition of apothecaries accompanied the English Colonialists, to the New World.
It also appears, that the first regulations, requiring a physician’s prescription, prior to dispensing a (non- “over the counter”) medicine, was passed as an Amendment to the U.S. Food and Drug Act, in 1951.
We have chosen to revisit this subject because of our negative reaction to the persistent, daily, continuance of the irresponsible practice of marketing medicine, to the general public on television, despite the consideration that the lack of knowledge concerning any potential user, may result in adverse effects and dire outcomes. Miraculous “snake oil” results, in aid of sales, portrayed by the parading of beautiful models and actors, before suffering members of the viewing public, is a most reprehensible practice. Following the glitzy presentation of an assured personal Valhalla, a series of rapid, virtually unintelligible, disclaimer statements, are routinely broadcast, in Gatling gun, rapid-fire fashion. The latter practice represents a ludicrous, inadequate and amateurish attempt at legal cover, for any injuries proximately caused by the advertiser’s false representations. Neither does the tactical and sophomoric solicitation, to “consult your doctor,” detract, one bit, from the potentially devastating impact of such tortious and anti-social behavior.
Where medication is factually indicated, its selection is properly within the jurisdiction and knowledgeable responsibility, of a qualified, experienced physician; most importantly, one who is well acquainted with the individual patient, and his personal health history. The routine suggestion, presented in all media sales pitches, that the viewer-sufferer to ask his doctor about the advertised medicine, is merely a deceptive tactic, designed to falsely assure the purchaser of the purported validity of the advertised product. At its least venal, such suggestion may be interpreted to mean that the physician may not be “up to date,” as to the latest available medicine. In reality (as known by the entire “pharma” industry), doctors are regularly besieged with sales representatives, energetically lauding the virtues of their pharmaceutical company’s new products. In such instance, and by obvious contrast, the physician has the education and practice experience, to enable him to evaluate such purported virtues.
If more were needed, we would, additionally observe, tha the prescription of medicine for known patients requires consideration and judicious decision as to the vitally important subjects of, proper dosage, method of administration, allergies, possible side effects, plus any and all other applicable and singular facts concerning the treated patient.
In the interest of public safety and health, television commercials promoting the sale of medicine should be legally banned, by the F.D.A.