New Advertising Rules Will Expose Big Pharma Price Gouging

For years, the FDA has required pharmaceutical companies to include the potentially harrowing side effects of prescription drugs in their otherwise pleasing television advertisements.

Now, as early as this summer, they’ll be required to include the harrowing prices of their drugs as well.

This new requirement for companies to disclose prices in television ads, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month, has been pushed for years by patient advocacy groups concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs, the lack of transparency in pricing, and the slick techniques used in pharmaceutical ads to steer patients to expensive medications they often don’t even need.

The requirement has also been supported by consumer advocacy groups like The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP), which just issued a report debunking the common pharmaceutical industry claim that drug prices are so high because of the high cost of research and development. According to the report, this explanation willfully ignores the fact that Big Pharma spends almost as much on marketing and advertising as it does on R&D.

A few years ago, we made a film about precisely these issues called Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease & Pushing Drugs, narrated by Amy Goodman. If you’re looking for more background on the evolution of direct-to-consumer drug advertising and its detrimental impact on drug prices and the health outcomes of the American people, we urge you to revisit this title.

Big Bucks Big Pharma

Big Bucks, Big Pharma is an incisive exposé of how marketing has infected everything doctors and patients learn about drugs, and a much-needed antidote to the tidal wave of self-serving drug-company propaganda that dominates the airwaves. Anyone who ever prescribes or takes a pill should see this documentary.”

 Alex Sugerman-Brozan | The PAL Project

“This doc pops the childproof lid off the bottle that is the pharmaceutical industry, exposing the way it sometimes manipulates sick folks to make a chunk of change for shareholders via better living through chemistry. Once you know the truth, you’ll want a Percocet or a Xanax.”

 San Diego CityBeat

Big Bucks, Big Pharma reveals some highly shocking truths about the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry. The concept it presents is often overlooked: that we are relying on profit-oriented billionaire pharmaceutical companies to provide us medicines and safeguard our health. … A very informative film.”

“An eye-opener. We’ve all seen ads for drugs proliferate in the last few years. But, until we saw Big Bucks, Big Pharmawe never realized the full breadth of the insidious marketing strategies of Big Pharma. Frankly, it kind of takes your breath away.”


“As this documentary so clearly and simply shows, we need to become ‘healthy skeptics’ and be better prepared to face a world where disease is being sold and drug companies are bankrolling the ‘education’ of the general public through advertising both drugs and diseases.”

 Alan Cassels | Drug Policy Researcher at the University of Victoria

“As an organizer and educator around issues of mental health and Big Pharma, I’ve found this film to be the BEST tool in my tool chest. It’s slick, convincing, credible and engaging.”

 Angela Bischoff | Greenspiration, Canada

“If the United States is ever going to upgrade its healthcare system for all people, it will happen only if an informed public mandates change. Big Bucks, Big Pharma is a bitter pill to swallow but the prognosis is hopeful.”

 Thomas P. Healy | Journalist