Like everybody else, I have gotten used to the unfortunate number of ads in which drug companies encourage consumers to push their physicians to prescribe the latest in expensive new therapies. But, the NYTimes Magazine had a supplement this weekend that, to me, was really offensive.
It was entitled "From cause to cure, a patient's guide to advances in mental health" and presented articles about Alzheimer's, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, and schizophrenia -- fully intermingled with full page ads from drug companies pushing their products which, by the way, were often featured in the articles themselves. I can't tell you how relieved I was to know that Bristol-Myers Squibb thinks that "treating bipolar disorder takes understanding"; that UCB is "the epilepsy company" that lets you have "life on your terms"; that Pfizer is "working for a healthier world"; that AstraZeneca is wants us to know that "sometimes there is another side to depression" -- and offers a postcard we can send in on which we list our diagnoses and what medications we are currently taking.
The articles and ads were illustrated by manipulative photos of people in various stages of sadness, thoughtfulness, and happiness. I believe that this kind of approach to reaching people -- especially those with mental illness -- and their family members is so cynical as to be offensive.
But, maybe I am just out of date and should learn to expect and accept this form of advertising. What do you think?
Please understand that I highly value the work these companies do: My problem lies in the way they deliver their message.