Big Bad Pharma: An Ethical Analysis of Physician-Directed and Consumer-Directed Marketing Tactics
In its current form, the pharmaceutical industry is virtually free of meaningful regulation, aside from a few voluntary and industry-promulgated guidelines, which are all highly discretionary and unenforceable. Further, the limited regulations that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes on the industry entrusts an excessive level of power and discretion in drug manufacturers. Despite recent amendments to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) guidelines, it is unclear whether these new regulations will be enough to protect patients, as the system still appears to remain inefficient and dangerous to consumers. This paper argues that pharmaceutical manufacturers are exploiting both physicians and patients, and that the United States is in dire need of more stringent regulation with respect to brand name pharmaceutical marketing. This paper concludes that direct contact between pharmaceutical sales representatives and physicians should be minimized and televised drug advertisements should be prohibited, while suggesting ways to maintain incentive for drug manufacturers to continue investing in research and development.