Monday, August 31, 2009

Medical Advertising: A Slippery Slope

This morning, I was a little annoyed to see a commercial on TV advocating people to be tested for BRCA.....but it wasn't a hospital, it was a private thing. It was pointing out that you could either rest assured you didn't have the gene mutation for breast cancer if there was history in your family, or you could take steps if you did find that you had the gene abnormalities.

I find it horrible that pharmaceutical companies are directly advertising to patients, and spending a pretty penny on it. High advertising costs, of course, drive up the cost of the drug. I also hate it because doctors should be the ones who evaluate whether or not a drug is appropriate, not the patient...viz Michael Jackson.

I understand that doctors in general may not be able to keep abreast of everything, but on the other hand, very few patients can make heads or tails out of medical findings in medical journals, and sometimes the translations are less than to be desired.

I also didn't like the fact that we don't know all the genes responsible for developing breast cancer. We probably will find more, but if you come up negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2, it doesn't mean you won't get breast cancer. Conversely, there are people out there who have the gene abnormalities who will never develop breast cancer.

Yet, this advertisement made it seem like it was a big bandaid ... GET this test! BE Free from Worry! Well, it just seems to me like this is playing on people's fears.

I am also not convinced that being tested and finding the abnormalities might not impact the children of the carrier. There are no safeguards in place to prevent them from being denied coverage if there is something found....I'm not convinced this is safe yet.

It would seem to me that it would be far better to try to figure out the causes of cancer and better treatments....but hey, I'm just a lonely little survivor who dislikes it when medical companies/drug companies are trying to take advantage of a bad situation.

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