Ethical values guide how human beings should interact with each other. Moreover, moral values ensure that stakeholders in healthcare function to benefit patients. According to Doherty and Purtilo (2015), healthcare practitioners often encounter ethical dilemmas in the course of practice. Consequently, applying ethical theories and values becomes an invaluable resource in helping healthcare professionals solve ethical problems. For instance, I am confronted with the ethical dilemma of whether pharmaceutical manufacturers should be allowed to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers.
Individuals and business entities should have freedom of speech to spur growth. However, sensitive sectors, such as healthcare, need regulations to protect the public from the adverse consequences of free speech. Parekh and Shrank (2018) posited that the direct consumer advertising of drugs encouraged patients to take an active role in their health through knowing diseases and the available treatment options. Nevertheless, drug manufacturers were found to dwell on the drugs’ appealing benefits while not informing the public about the drug’s adverse effects. Consequently, the misinformation encourages patients to consider the treatment of ailments over preventive measures such as healthy lifestyle habits. Moreover, direct consumer advertising encourages self–diagnosis and self-treatment.
I find that direct consumer advertising of prescription drugs helps manufacturers improve sales. My application of the utilitarianism principle would support manufacturers’ decision to advertise prescription drugs to consumers directly. However, I would not endorse the decision based on the health ethics principle that emphasizes maximum benefit to patients. According to Doherty and Purtilo (2015), prescription drug manufactures should advertise to physicians and not directly to consumers to prevent harm. Healthcare professionals have the ability to integrate scientific research with clinical practice and expertise and patient assessment to high-quality, safe, and patient-centered care. For this reason, I believe that patients will hinder the provision of quality healthcare by asking for specific prescription medicine. Therefore, physicians and healthcare professionals should have control over prescription drugs for safety purposes.
Doherty, R. F., & Purtilo, R. B. (2015). Ethical dimensions in the health professions [eBook] Elsevier Health Sciences.Web.
Parekh, N., & Shrank, W. H. (2018). Dangers and opportunities of direct-to-consumer advertising. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 33(5), 586–587.