Deontological Ethical Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Marketing
In Deontological ethics, morality of an action is based upon the particular action’s adherence to moral laws independent of their consequences (DeGeorge 62). Direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals has had heated debate with logical arguments from those for, and for those against allowing such practices to exist. I do not believe the marketing of the prescription medication to be solely unethical but more of as a shade of grey in-between ethical and unethical moral standards dependent upon the actions of the individual pharmaceutical companies. Advertising to the general public can be ethical if the medication truly benefits those in society
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In 1997 the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) made new regulations that allowed broadcast advertisements the ability to forego lengthy brief summaries, like the ones found in print media, as long as adequate provisions were made to present consumers the major risks and precautions, and as long as the advertisement provided consumers with alternate means of acquiring all information of the drug either through a toll-free number, web address, a concurrently running printed advertisement, or a referral to a medical professional (Bradley). The FDA also stated that direct-to-consumer advertisements should be held to the same standards as those directed to actual physicians. Where the FDA failed in this is through its inability to enforce such regulations. Soon after the passing of the new regulation the FDA’s Division of Drug Marketing found that it was unable to accurately, and in timely fashion, regulate the pre-market review of broadcast advertisements (Bradley). The percentage of broadcast advertisement review before airing fell from 64% in 1999 to 32% by 2004 (Bradley).
Without the proper review of these advertisements before airing causes a major area of concern in my mind because that leaves open the potential for a pharmaceutical to put out information that isn’t true to the general public. Coupled with the FDA’s inability to properly oversea its own