Second Paper – Deontological Analysis
June 19, 2013
Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising: Ethical or Not? The United States and New Zealand are the only developed countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising. Whether the practice of direct to consumer advertising is beneficial to the consumers or not is a highly debated subject with both positions presenting sound reasoning for their position. Whether the practice is beneficial or not to the consumer is not the question, but rather, is advertising prescription drugs directly to consumers ethical? To analyze this question I will use Rawls’s second principle of distributive justice for analysis.
(2) use that method, developing the argument in support
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Supporters also emphasize the increased treatment of ailments with the newest drug on the market, due to the advertising and education. Is this always to the consumer’s advantage? What about cases where side effects of the drug have not been fully realized before the drug is released, but the consumer’s desire for a cure to their problem prompts the request for the medication per the claims made in the ad. This was the case for Vioxx that was advertised to be a great reliever of arthritis pain. “The FDA estimates that Vioxx was responsible for as many as 139,000 heart attacks and almost 30,000 deaths from heart attack or stroke.” (Woodard abcnews.com) The Vioxx ad did not have this information as these were unknown severe side effects of the medication. Assuming that not only the highly qualified personnel that created Vioxx, but also the FDA personnel, took all proper measures and examined complex data and concluded that the drug was safe to release, that poses the question of the ability of the average consumer to truly understand the risks associated with a drug even if the information is provided in a handout with the medication. This is a point of opponents of the DTC advertising. The average consumer, without proper training and knowledge of the medical field, cannot evaluate a drug based on an ad. This can also complicate the relationship between