What do you think when you see a commercial on TV for a prescription medication? Does it make you want to ask your healthcare provider about it? Do you even remember the drug after the next commercial has played? Called direct-to-consumer (or DTC) advertising, the advertisements are designed to make you remember and specifically ask about the medication.
DTC spending reached $5.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to exceed $6 billion in 2017. Its purpose? To increase the profit margins of pharmaceutical companies. While this sounds greedy (and the practice may change as Congress considers healthcare reform), one benefit has come out of DTC advertising: It helped open the door to patients discussing personal, and oftentimes uncomfortable, topics, like depression.
While I would prefer the ubiquitous phrase “talk to your doctor” at the end of each of these commercials be changed to “talk to your nurse practitioner” or at least “talk to your healthcare provider,” I am glad people are more comfortable bringing up emotional issues and openly discussing them. As for medications, feel free to mention an ad you read or a commercial you saw. I’ll happily discuss them and all treatment options to help my clients reach optimal emotional health.