I have an idea how to save $50 Billion annually on healthcare - ban pharmaceutical advertising and "marketing"

There is no reason for us to be inundated with happy looking people in ads telling us how wonderful Invokana or Cymbalta are (followed by fine print of horrible potential side effects). There is no reason why I should have to know what Invokana does and does not do - this is not about being an "informed consumer". If I need Invokana, there is a professional whose job it is to tell me that and to understand precisely how and why Invokana is for me - that would be my Doctor.

Pharmaceutical advertising is nothing but an arms race - companies spend Billions for something that is completely unnecessary if only from one point in time everyone had to play under different rules. Tobacco company profits did not go down when cigarette advertising was banned - they went up because they saved on all that advertising expense. Pharma companies would not have less money to invest in R & D if they were not allowed to advertise - arguably they would have more.

At the same time the entire process of "marketing" should be drastically overhauled and information about pharmaceutical products should get to the patients through their doctors and to the doctors through the FDA and medical professional associations and Boards. No more "pharma reps" to call on doctors with goodies if they use their brand over some other brand. It makes the whole process corrupt and is terribly inefficient. Cholesterol medication should not be sold the way diapers or energy drinks are sold.

Of the total of around $50 Billion in annual marketing expenditures, half is "free samples" and the other half are Direct to Consumer advertising and pharma Sales Reps. That is a massive and unnecessary cost that does not improve the clinical outcome of one single patient and actually makes the entire system prohibitively expensive.

All of this could be done very easily and without any harm whatsoever to either the pharma industry, to the medical profession or to patients. It would simply need action by the legislative branch and it would save $50 Billion annually.

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