Last updated on: 4/8/2010 | Author:

Richard E. Ralston, MA Biography

Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine
Pro to the question "Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?"

“Critics of the pharmaceutical industry demonstrate willful ignorance of the basic principles of economics and marketing. They say firms that develop breakthrough drugs after investing billions of dollars in research are not to be commended but persecuted—because they won’t keep quiet about them. Those who attack drug advertising are just looking for an excuse to impose government regulation and price controls. They pretend ignorance of marketing because they want to destroy individual choice and free markets, and replace them with government micro-management of all aspects of health care. They are also conveniently ignorant of other principles, such as ‘freedom of speech.’

Effective advertising of new drugs provides obvious benefits. Most importantly, it informs those with medical conditions about new treatments (including those who may have given up on getting relief). It may motivate them to discuss the condition with a physician for the first time, creating an opportunity for the physician to undertake testing and make a correct diagnosis. The physician may prescribe another medication better suited to the patient’s needs. Or, the physician’s knowledge of the condition’s serious consequences may alter the treatment course instead of just addressing the symptoms reported by the patient.”

“Prescription Drug Advertising is Good for All of Us,”, June 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Executive Director, Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, 2002-present
  • Publishing Manager, Ayn Rand Institute
  • Independent consultant in direct marketing
  • Former Circulation Director and Publisher, The Christian Science Monitor
  • Former radio producer
  • MA, International Relations, University of Southern California, 1977
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Prescription Drugs Be Advertised Directly to Consumers?