No matter what half-hour network news channel you flip to you will be bombarded with somewhere around 15 minutes of "ask your doctor" Big Pharma ads touting some new and improved excelsior to treat anything from and overactive bladder to a runaway leg. About 10 seconds of each ad is devoted to "side effects" up to, and including death! Guaranteed to solve any bladder or leg problem for good.
What would Cronkite or Murrow have to say if they were still with us? probably nothing because they would not be hired by the networks.
If you try to find an explanation to this transition from news to drugs you have to go back a few years and dig into obscure reports that very few of us would read.
I was able to find something in an article written in 2008 that stated;
Advertising in the Pharmaceutical Industry: An Overview
Open a copy of Reader’s Digest, or simply turn on the TV:
American consumers are bombarded by advertising from the
pharmaceutical industry. “Big Pharma,” the most profitable
industry in America, spent $4.2 billion in 2005 on DTC
advertising.3 It also spent about 35% of its revenues on marketing
and administration in 2001, an extremely high percentage
for any industry.4 Most of this money was spent by
companies trying to attract patients to use their drugs.
Pharma markets to consumers in many ways, including
print ads and TV commercials. It also markets by investing
in relationships: sponsoring research by doctors, inviting
physicians as members of advisory boards or speakers’
bureaus, giving donations or funding trips, and holding symposia.
In 2000, the ten largest pharmaceutical companies
spent $1.9 billion on promotional events alone.5 Free product
samples also help sway doctors to prescribe a particular medicine.
In her book The Truth About the Drug Companies, Dr.
Marcia Angell reports that in 2001, drug companies spent
$5.5 billion to promote nearly $11 billion worth of free samples
to physicians; and in 2005, pharma spent $7.2 billion
promoting drugs to physicians.6
YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THIS AND
ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT IT ON YOUR NEXT VISIT.