Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beware of Subtle Manipulation by Drug Companies

Drug companies want you to buy their products, and they spend a lot of time and money on researching just how to persuade you to try a pill or two to cure whatever ails you. Television commercials are a particularly successful method of manipulation.

A sad little ball that looks like a kid drew it appears on your television. Then you hear: "You know when you feel the weight of sadness. You may feel exhausted, hopeless and anxious." Now a cute little blue bird flies down next to the ball and a dark cloud appears. Next, you hear symptoms of depression, a serious medical condition affecting over 20,000,000 Americans.

Your response: You feel sad, don't you? You realize you are exhausted too. You didn't feel hopeless or anxious until now. But come to think about it, you do feel hopeless and anxious.

There are people who are depressed and need treatment and if you truly feel you are depressed, talking to your doctor is one of the best decisions you can make. But there is a difference between being depressed and being sad.

The drug companies have decided to market their products directly to the consumer by creating commercials that suggest we ask our doctor for a particular drug. This commercial and many like it are meant to manipulate you. The drug companies want you to feel these symptoms, go to your doctor and ask for the drug. If you watch these commercials, you are supposed to think that you are not just sad, but depressed. You will also make a mental note of the symptoms of depression. When you go to the doctor, you will tell the doctor you are depressed and have certain symptoms - the same ones in the commercial. As a result, there's a good chance the doctor will prescribe whatever drug you ask for.

You are not the only one being manipulated. Doctors are also being manipulated.

One of the most popular periodicals read by physicians is The Journal of the American Medical Association. Can you guess who their main advertisers are? Pharmaceutical companies. If you take a look at one of the ads, you will notice that it is intended to manipulate the reader by exaggerating the benefits of a drug. The side effects can be found in small print at the bottom of the ad.

Drug companies spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. They manipulate you to think you are depressed (or something else) and to also think that their product is the magic remedy. Their manipulation strategy for doctors is to place their ads in publications read primarily by doctors. Another manipulation tactic used by big drug companies is to publish a journal that appears to be a paper on a particular medical condition with, of course, a solution: the perfect drug to prescribe for the ailment. It gets better. Ads appear in the journal that favor the drug. The publication is nothing more than a marketing brochure appearing to be an authentic medical report, encouraging or manipulating doctors to prescribe the drugs.

When it comes to manipulation, drug companies are among the worst. The next time you see an advertisement on television, read a blog on the internet, or read an article in the newspaper, ask yourself if the author's intent is to manipulate you. And the next time your doctor recommends a medication, have the courage to ask him or her why it is that medication and not some other that would be best for you.

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