Letter: The Guise of Empowering Patients

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The drug industry defends its glut of TV ads under the guise of empowering patients to fully participate in their treatment plans when their actual purpose is to increase revenue.

In the process, they promote hypochondriasis or health anxiety and the dilution of the doctor-patient relationship, which has significant healing properties quite apart from active medications or procedures.

Prescription medications should only be marketed to those trained to properly evaluate them. That’s the position of the American Medical Association. Only Congress can put the stop to these ads. Why won’t they act?

—Dr. Thomas V. Lysaght, retired clinical psychologist

*Editor’s note: The United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world to allow direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements.

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