Answer: United States & New Zealand
You know those ads that come on between TV shows that, on the surface, appear to be somewhat normal? A middle-aged woman sits in a doctor’s office, casually talking. The shot then fades into the same woman joking around with her family, taking pictures and laughing. Meanwhile, if you turn the volume up slightly, the narrator can’t catch a breath because he’s rattling off all of the potential side effects?
Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, water weight gain, lower back pain, receding hairline, eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, itchy chafing clothing, liver spots, blood clots, ringworm, etc, etc, etc…
Well, those advertisements, usually trying to sell the general populace some form of prescription medication, are only allowed in the United States and New Zealand. While most of these ads seem to be background noise and filler between Monday Night Football commercial breaks, there’s actually an incredible trend developing.
As pointed out by the AP, “ads for prescription drugs appeared 5 million times in just one year, capping a recent surge in U.S. medical marketing.” Moreover, “researchers estimated that medical marketing reached $30 billion in 2016, up from $18 billion in 1997. Spending on consumer-focused ads climbed fastest.” These numbers include more than just television spending. Advertisements were counted in newspapers, online sites, social media, and medical journals. Long story short, like most of the products being peddled by massive corporations in the United States, they’re everywhere.
One potential downside is that all of this marketing is driving “more treatments, more testing” that patients don’t always need, said Dr. Steven Woloshin, a Dartmouth College health policy expert. Furthermore, “Woloshin said the upward trend is concerning and suggests consumers need to be increasingly skeptical about marketing claims.” With that said, supporters of the advertisements note that “medical marketing has survived legal challenges and “needs no apologist.” It has helped make patients more informed consumers and it’s up to doctors to help their patients understand product claims.” That being said, keep an eye on those side-effects!