Drug ads a form of free speech

David Lazarus claims that direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising results in “forcing physicians to respond to people’s demands for heavily touted drugs.” (“Ads spur urge for drugs,” Consumer Confidential, Feb. 6.)

Actually, physicians have a government-granted monopoly on prescribing drugs, and no patient can “force” a physician to do anything. Rather, research on physicians’ behavior shows that they tend to interrupt quickly while their patients describe symptoms.

Such advertising not only falls under the constitutional protection of free speech, but is also symptomatic of a competitive and innovative pharmaceutical market.

John R. Graham,



Health Care Studies,

Pacific Research


San Francisco

The article regarding direct-to-consumer advertising by the pharmaceutical industry points out, once again, the ugly, uglier, ugliest underbelly of our profit-driven healthcare system.

One would think that these companies really were concerned about the health and well-being of us all. Silly me! The only concern is to get more money out of more people for as long into the future as can be manipulatively managed.

Carol Marshall