Who Pays for It?
◆ “Desk Pollution.” That is what a medical doctor called it. Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association, December 21, 1970, on the flood of unsolicited medical literature he received, he noted some interesting facts regarding it.
In one day he received nine such publications, in one month a total of seventy. They all had three things in common: They all contained advertising by more than one drug company; they were all sent to him without his soliciting them, and they all contained articles of interest to the practicing physician. A sampling of three magazines showed that they contained 173 pages of reading matter and 277 pages of advertising. Counting the number of lines contained in these seventy journals, he estimated that it would take forty hours a week to read them all in the course of a month.
These magazines are sent weekly or monthly to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of physicians. The total weight of the magazines he received in one month totaled 30.5 pounds. He estimated that if all 200,000 physicians in the United States received that many each month, it would total some 3,000 tons monthly.
These medical journals, by and large, are published on fine-quality paper and contain very colorful costly medical advertising. Who pays for all this? Not the doctors nor the publishers but the patients who pay for the drugs that doctors prescribe; for all this advertising is added to the cost of the drugs. Apparently the manufacture of drugs is a very profitable business.