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Give Doctors Credit

Give Doctors Credit

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today stood in support of pharmaceutical advertising, saying that the proposed ban painted a picture of forceful patients and weak doctors.

"The politically-correct complaint is that patients place undue pressure on doctors to prescribe advertised medications," Mrs Roy said.

"This argument, however, underestimates doctors' ability to make independent, informed decisions about treatment. It also overestimates the influence that patients have over their doctors. This is an insult to the medical profession.

"As politically incorrect as it is to admit it, advertising has positive effects; it raises awareness of medical problems and conditions and shows sufferers there are options available to them.

"One example of this is the advertising of Xenical, to treat obesity. Patients are frequently embarrassed about their obesity, which is a major contributing factor in developing diabetes. Because advertising has made obesity a public topic, patients now find it easier to consult their doctor for treatment.

"Banning the advertising of medications would suggest our doctors are incapable of making their own decisions without being heavily influenced by advertising campaigns. What does this say about our faith in our doctors?

"In New Zealand we have always cherished free speech. Banning advertising is not only an affront to our heritage, it is a violation of our rights. It will only erode the faith we have in our doctors, and lead to public ignorance of medical health issues," Mrs Roy said.

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