Letter: Ads promote a culture of sickness

We have all heard the statement that you are what you eat. I suggest that we are also what we see and hear. I am referring to the multiplicity of advertisements on TV featuring one illness after another together with a suggested treatment, usually a pill. A single one-half hour newscast might feature as many as six of these advertisements attempting to induce the viewer to acquire a specific medicine or treatment.

These ads are objectionable for several reasons. Exposure to these illness-related ads on a daily basis promotes a culture of sickness instead of a culture of wellness. Some people are very open to suggestion and might seek a medication or treatment they view in an ad if they have the slightest symptom of the condition described. Also, prescription medications should not be advertised on TV, and were not until the 1990s. Only one other developed country allows the advertising of prescription medications. Most people lack the authority to write a prescription and might pressure those in the medical field to provide the prescription they desire. The downside is that the prescription requested may not be the most appropriate or may be more costly than the alternatives.

People should seek the advice of medical professionals when they have a health problem and certainly not be reliant on what is seen in ads sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.

Robert J. Boes


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