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..::: JUNE 23, 2005

Do the Math on Drug Ads, Urgest Health Organization

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA—All those ads for prescription drugs are good for consumers, argues Richard E. Ralston, executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine (AFCM), in a commentary published this week in the San Francisco Chronicle and available on AFCM’s Web site ( "In order to recover the cost of developing and manufacturing a new product, a drug must be able to find its “market”—customers who think the product provides a value greater to them than the price."

After laying out a basic economics tutorial, Ralston explains that the pharmaceutical business has rights, too, including the freedom of speech—and he boldly concludes that the government, contrary to regulation under consideration, ought to leave drug ads alone.

“Those who want to eliminate drug advertising, or tax it, or use it as an excuse to impose controls want to eliminate, tax, and control the flow of information to consumers”, he says. “They want to destroy individual choice and free markets,” Ralston writes, “and replace them with government micro-management of all aspects of health care. They are ignorant of freedom of speech, which applies to advertising, too.”

Citing drug ads’ benefits, such as informing the sick about new treatments and motivating patients to start talking about a condition with a doctor, he points out that, in today’s health care system, physicians can’t conceivably keep up with the facts, advantages and features of every new drug and factor an application to each patient. Ralston asks: Why shouldn’t pharmaceutical firms advertise new remedies to those who feel pain?

His answers and assertions—that the state has no right to dictate drug ads—offer an original, thought-provoking analysis. Richard Ralston’s health care commentary has been published in the Houston Chronicle, Orange County Register and the Washington Times.

Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, (AFCM), was founded in 1993. AFCM educates the public about the principles of socialized medicine and free market ideas, such as HSAs and tax reform, and publishes a consumer's guide on its Web site ( AFCM is the nation's only educational organization based on individual rights, personal responsibility, and free market ideas in medicine.

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Copyright © 2005 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.
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