Ask your doctor. Or don’t.

The New York Times has a story today about how the pharmaceutical industry is seeing its sales slide.  There are many factors contributing to this, which are pretty much summed up in this bit:

…insurers and some states are taking advantage of the backlash against the industry to try shifting patients to older, generic drugs, arguing that they work as well as newer and more expensive branded medicines. Overall, prescriptions continue to rise slightly, but an increasing share of prescriptions are going to generic drugs. Also, consumers seem to be less responsive to aggressive drug marketing.

Well!  This is good news:  growing resistance to aggressive marketing, and generic drugs gaining acceptance.  Drug ads have saturated the media, targeted at both consumers and doctors.  Doctors are constantly pressured by drug companies to prescribe their stuff instead of generics, nudging them with gifts and other incentives.  Consumers are constantly told to “ask your doctor” about this or that drug, even if you don’t really need it, and they’re also told by the admen that generics aren’t “safe” and to trust the big brands.  Uh-huh.  It looks like consumers are slowly waking up and realizing that they’re being pushed into spending more money than necessary, by doctors and drug companies.  Apparently they’re also paying attention to these news stories about skewed drug trial results, side effects swept under the corporate rug, and outright lies by drug companies about how safe their products are.  Big Pharma does produce some helpful drugs, but they have also given the public very good reason to distrust them lately.

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