Last updated on: 4/9/2010 | Author: ProCon.org

Andrew Weil, MD Biography

Title:
Founder and Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Position:
Con to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"
Reasoning:

“A major component of today’s high-tech medical treatment is the reckless overuse of pharmaceutical drugs. An estimated 50 percent of Americans take at least one prescribed medication every day; in 2007, drug sales accounted for an astonishing $315 billion in revenue. When I was growing up, far fewer Americans took prescription drugs…

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical marketing… is a major engine behind this unfortunate change. American television, radio, internet and print are saturated with ads for every imaginable drug, typically ending with an entreaty to ‘ask your doctor.’ In 2004, American drug companies spent 24.4% of their sales revenue on promotion, versus just 13.4% for research and development…

Drug ads strengthen our belief in pharmaceutical drugs as the cures for all of our problems. In fact, the consequences of poor lifestyle choices cannot be undone with pills…

Because heavily advertised drugs have such vast profit potential, political and financial interests collude to speed them to market before they have received sufficient scientific scrutiny…

The free market works well in many ways, but it has failed us here. Whether it is done independently or as part of an omnibus health care reform initiative, we need to make the same decision that the rest of the developed world has made: that is, ban direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription pharmaceutical products.”

“Should You Get Your Drug Information from an Actor?,” huffingtonpost.com, Aug. 1, 2009

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with MDs, DOs, PhDs, MPHs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to pharmaceutical drugs and public health. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to pharmaceutical drugs and public health.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder and Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center
  • Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health, University of Arizona
  • Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology, University of Arizona
  • Director of Integrative Health and Healing, Miraval Life in Balance Resort, Tucson (AZ)
  • Chairman, Weil Foundation
  • Columnist, Prevention magazine
  • Editor-in-Chief, Integrative Medicine
  • Recipient, Pioneer Award in Integrative Medicine, Institute for Health and Healing, 2006
  • Recipient, John P. McGovern Award in Behavioral Sciences, Smithsonian Associates, 2005
  • Inductee, Academy of Achievement, 1998
Education:
  • MD, Harvard University, 1968
  • AB, Botany, Harvard University, 1964
Other:
  • Named one of the 25 most influential Americans in 1997 by Time
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?