2005N-0354 Consumer-Directed Promotion of Regulated Medical Products; Part 15 Public Hearing
FDA Comment Number : EC277
Submitter : Mrs. Sandra Gainsforth Date & Time: 12/07/2005 06:12:07
Organization : Mrs. Sandra Gainsforth
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Pharmaceutical drugs are being marketed directly to patients via magazine ads and television commercials. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when this was forbidden. At that time, prescribing medications was left up to the doctor, who had a scientific background and could evaluate the research data and statistics.

Currently we have many ridiculously over-simplified commercials being aired via public media. These commercials are very misleading and not scientific in orientation. The whole purpose is to get the consumer to insist that their doctor prescribe the advertised pill.

I am a savvy consumer and do a lot of my own research and have several doctors I consult with before embarking on any medical treatment, drug or surgery. I think most consumers do not do the research I do and are more likely to be fooled into thinking of pharmaceuticals as an easy solution. I don't think most people read the package inserts or understand the side effects a drug could potentially have.

I know that the use of psychiatric drugs and drugs for hyperactivity are on the rise. The drug companies tell us that nearly one quarter to one third of our population needs pharmaceuticals for mental illness. It is clear to me that they have a vested interest in convincing everyone they need a pill for something. So if you are healthy and don't have diabetes or cancer, the only thing they can sell you is a pill for anxiety, depression, shyness, caffeine addiction, etc. Just read the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and you'll see that there is something in there for everyone. Normal behavior is being "medicalized" to create a market for pharmaceutical drugs.

I strongly protest this viewpoint as it drives up insurance costs and puts many innocent patients at risk of serious side effects. Plus it's not good medicine. It is treating the symptoms and not the causes.

Thank you kindly for having this public hearing and allowing us to express our viewpoints.