Introduced in the 1950’s as a miracle drug, Diuril, first developed as a diuretic was soon to be discovered to have an antihypertensive agent that proved to be relatively safe and effective in lowering blood pressures. Despite the success of this particular drug, we should be hesitant to praise a drug prior to any long-term studies concerning improved prognosis and further knowledge of the natural history of the disease which it is suppose to treat.
Diuril may have been a success, but the development of the drug set a dangerous precedent concerning the combined uses of marketing departments and clinical research. What the story of Diuril teaches us is that drug companies are willing and eager to promote a drugs apparent benefit without considering the long-term effects. This type of activity from drug companies ought to arouse ethical concerns about the linkages between marketing and clinical research. The result is that drugs are no longer tailored to treat a disease, but manufactured for a target market in order to turn a profit.
Ethical marketing practices should not be limited to forbidding the advertisement of prescription drugs to the general public (a convention which seems to have be dropped in our times), but ought to be preceded by intensive clinical research. What the trend in linking marketing and clinical research represents is a drive for profitability among drug companies that is divorced from potential concerns about a drug’s adverse effects. The collusion between marketing departments and clinical researchers should raise ethical red flags. Rather than spurring marketing efforts, initial success in clinical trials should be viewed with some hesitance till conclusive proof becomes available.