Drug Giveaways: Marketing Trumps Safety

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September 02, 2006 | 8,541 views

Drug makers are increasingly offering coupons, rebates and similar promotions for prescription drugs, which they say lowers patient costs and provides a chance to try new medicines.

But consumer groups worry that they may draw patients to risky drugs they do not need, and which are more expensive in the long run. A coalition of 23 groups is requesting an FDA ban on the giveaways.

Companies making the offers include Pfizer, which offers a free prescription of the impotence drug Viagra for every six filled, and Sanofi-Aventis, which allows patients to try seven days of the sleeping pill Ambien at no cost. These offers are not tracked by doctors or pharmacists, unlike some free trial vouchers.

Many find coupons and giveaways targeted at children, which has also been on the rise in recent years, particularly troubling.

Drug makers are desperate to beat all the negative headlines -- think the blinding power of Viagra, or Ambien making you eat in your sleep -- that some heavy hitters aren't hesitating to reach into their bag of evil marketing tricks to pull out another insidious maneuver to push their toxic, useless products:

When in doubt, give them away ... a technique refined by many who push addictive substances. The first hit is free; the rest, however, will cost you.

Unfortunately, the drug giveaway is working. Drug wholesaler McKesson Corp. has processed coupons/vouchers from more than 10 million patients for free drugs over the past 12 years alone.

But don't expect the hobbled, seriously compromised FDA to ever take on the drug companies, even though support for a ban is growing. In fact, the FDA considered a study measuring the wisdom of hawking free samples of a bogus drug, but withdrew it.

Remember, as it's currently configured, the FDA works in the best interests of the multi-national drug manufacturers, and not you!

Meanwhile, the sad fact of the matter is, most of these drugs are useless at best and outright dangerous at worst.

Currently, the United States spends nearly $2 trillion for health care, and the projections are that it will double in less than 10 years. And while we spend all of this money on disease management focused on drugs and surgery, our return on this investment is profoundly poor. More and more people do not have the energy they need to get through the day while millions of others are suffering with painful crippling diseases because they have violated basic health principles.

As the late health reporter Nick Regush once said:

"There is no way to be nice about this. There is no point in raising false hopes. There is no treatment or vaccine in sight. There is no miracle breakthrough on the horizon. Medicine, as we know it, is dying. It's entering a terminal phase."

Often, negative health and lifestyle choices are made because of a lack of knowledge, and it's my passion to increase the public's awareness of the deceptive influences that alter their ability to make wise choices.

To that end I have been furiously working on a new interactive version of this Web site that will allow you to actively participate. It is alpha testing and we hope to release it later this year. It will help to collect and sort the best that natural medicine has to offer so you can easily find answers to your health questions.

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