In his chapter, Dumit describes the inner workings of the pharmaceutical marketing process. He explains that marketers are businessmen with the endpoint in sight; they aim to garner profit from ongoing drug consumption. These objectives are met not just by getting patients prescribed these drugs in the first place, but prescription maximization in the form of growing number of new prescriptions, extending time patient stays on the prescription, and shortening the time between having the condition and getting the prescription.
If these are the objectives of direct to consumer marketing we need to reconsider the practice. Most people consider a healthy lifestyle one being free of prescription drugs. Doctors, upon meeting a new patient on a myriad of drugs, should be working with that patient to reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals ingested. Drugs take a toll on the body through absorption processes and side effects – not to mention the effect it has on patients’ financial situation. According to Dumit, the pharmaceutical marketer thinks of the mass market as potential patients. These potential patients must be convinced they may be ill and not know it, then led ‘step by step toward a prescription.’ Arguably, consumers are led to wanting things that are potentially harmful daily but those products deemed too hazardous are not advertised. Cigarettes, for example, are no longer advertised or displayed in stores. This is due to long term health effects of smoking tobacco. Are the side effects of smoking not on par with prescription medications that also increase the risk of cancer and heart disease? Why should one be advertised and the other banned?