The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

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Watching drug ads on TV; it’s enough to make you sick

It’s enough to make you sick: The soft, cheesy music. Happy couples playing sports effortlessly. The side-by-side bath tubs. The docile tones of a narrator ticking off a mind-numbing list of side effects that are terrifying.

Prescription drug ads are everywhere.  You can’t watch TV without catching one. The pharmaceutical companies are paying big to cash in on your fears.

Drugmakers in 2014 spent $4.5 billion marketing prescription drugs, up from $3.5 billion in 2012. That's also up from the $2.5 billion drugmakers spent in 2000, or $3.39 billion in 2015 dollars when adjusted for inflation.

Two widely recognized erectile dysfunction drugs that have been on the market for more than a decade — Pfizer's Viagra and and Eli Lilly's Cialis — ranked among the top five “miracle” drugs that are being advertised, according to Kantar media, a marketing research company Pfizer's advertising budget for its "little blue pill" has more than doubled in the past five years to $232 million, and the company notably started marketing directly to women in a new ad campaign thattht drops the long-runnin innuendo associated with its groundbreaking product.

Other highly advertised drugs included Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment; Lyrica, a treatment for pain caused by nerve damage; and Eliquis, an anticlotting drug approved in December 2012.

Litigation experts at a recent legal seminar reported that lawyers are obtaining high settlement values — ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 — in suits against manufacturers of these advertised drugs:

Transvaginal mesh – a net-like implant, designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, that can causes organ damage, chronic pain, bowel and bladder perforation, vaginal scarring, urinary problems and infections.

Xarelto – a blood thinner linked to uncontrollable internal bleeding and deaths in patients.

Zofran – an anti-nausea drug that was illegally marketed off-label to pregnant women, who gave birth to deformed babies.

Other “mass tort”  cases making headlines include Bair Hugger hospital blankets, the Invokana diabetes drug, morcellator medical devices and Risperdal antipsychotic medicine.

A mass tort is ordinarily a product liability case where hundreds of plaintiffs file suit against a pharmaceutical company. 

The Rise Of Prescription Drugs In America

The United States is just one of a few countries that allows drug companies to advertise directly to patients, and the practice really escalated in 1997 after the Food and Drug Administration relaxed federal rules. In some ways, it's not surprising that advertising is back on the upswing. The economic recovery is here, millions more have obtained health insurance  and 2012 and 2014 saw high rates of new drug approvals from the FDA

Prescription drug spending is the third most expensive cost in our health care system. And spending seems to grow larger every year. Just last year, the average American got 12 prescriptions a year, as compared with 1992, when Americans got an average of seven prescriptions. In a decade and a half, the use of prescription medication went up 71 percent. This has added about $180 billion to our medical spending.

While there are more medicines on the market today than in 1992, researchers estimate that around 20 percent of the $180 billion increase has absolutely nothing to do with the number of medications available, or increases in the cost of that medication.

Questions? Talk to attorney Steven M. Goldberg, a law firm that specializes in theses cases, a firm with physician on staff.