If you’ve ever seen a commercial on TV for a drug or medication, especially one that is most likely completely irrelevant to you, then you’re not alone. In the United States, commercials for drugs are very common on pretty much every television channel, from sports to sitcoms to news. It may seem normal to Americans, but in many other countries, direct-to-consumer drug ads aren’t allowed on TV or any other media; drug companies simply market exclusively to doctors who then prescribe those drugs to patients as they see fit.
It’s not a coincidence that the United States is one of the only countries to have commercial drug ads so common – it’s a controversial issue and one that has strong arguments on both sides. The fascinating video above, made by Vox, talks all about why drug ads are so common in the US, what the effects are, and what the arguments for and against the playing of direct-to-consumer ads on TV are.