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Tuesday, January 30th 2007

TV Drug Ads Tug At The Heart

Hmmm…yes, this is all pharm’s problem that this is what works. It says nothing about the actual viewers.

“Ninety five percent of the ads are using positive emotional appeals — people looking happy after taking the drugs,” Frosch says. The commercials, he says, present “a very black and white portrait of the benefits of prescription drugs — ‘Take this drug and everything is going to be back in order.’”

For instance, one commercial pitching Valtrex for genital herpesherpes shows a young woman first saying, “Living with genital herpes can be a hassle.” After taking the drug, the final scene shows her kissing a partner in the surf, with Rio de Janeiro in the background.

“Lifestyle changes are sometimes mentioned as an adjunct [to taking the drug],” Frosch says, when in some cases changing behavior — such as exercising more to reduce high cholesterol — might actually prevent the need for the medication.

But they found that no commercials mentioned lifestyle change as an alternative to the medication.

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