Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has revealed the Russian Upper House is considering a bill that would totally ban drug advertisements. RT reports:
“Our citizens have been brought up in such a way that once they see an ad on TV, they have to run to the drugstore and purchase these product, regardless of whether it is good for them or not,” she said, explaining the reasons behind the motion.
Matviyenko acknowledged that the bill would face staunch opposition. “This is not a simple issue and the resistance to the bill is very powerful. According to experts’ estimations, TV companies get about 11.5 billion rubles (over $205 million) in revenues from such ads.”
The upper house speaker also spoke in favor of regulating the advertising of unhealthy food and described such advertising featuring children as an outrage.
Russian law contains many restrictions on advertising, but they deal mostly with content rather than placement. As for food ads, there have been several attempts to regulate them, most recently in 2015. Back then, lawmakers from parliamentary majority party United Russia promised to implement a regulation that would make it impossible to advertise foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat, saying the move would help encourage healthy eating habits among the population. This bill has not been passed yet.
If passed, the bill would mark a stark contrast between Russia and the US were mind-altering drugs are commonplace, by some statistics, prescription drugs are wreaking more havoc on the US than traditional “hard” narcotics. If you live in the US, you may think drug commercials are perfectly normal, but they are in fact quote bizarre in nature. Upon further study, one discovers the US is one of the only countries in the world which allows for direct-to-consumer drug advertisement. It really is odd how American companies gleefully advertise for the sale of what may be poison directly into the homes of Americans.
Case in point, here is the list of side effects for a particular medication (some of them may disgust you):
depressed mood, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, crying spells, aggression or agitation, changes in behavior, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
* sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
* blurred vision, sudden and severe headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes with vomiting;
* hearing problems, hearing loss, or ringing in your ears;
* seizure (convulsions);
* severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
* loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
* severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, black, bloody, or tarry stools;
* fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, purple spots under your skin, easy bruising or bleeding; or
* joint stiffness, bone pain or fracture.
Having read those, one can only imagine it must be intended to treat very serious illnesses, so what exactly does it treat?
Acne. See here and here for a list of drugs with ridiculous side effects. If you actually think for a moment how often society bombards us with advertisements for drugs with profoundly disturbing side effects, or forces them on people who truly don’t need them, a drug ad ban doesn’t sound very bad at all.
If you think about it, have you ever actually heard a drug commercial and decided…yes! That! That is what I need in my bloodstream!
Generally speaking, only those suffering from a certain malady take drugs, so if you actually need the drug, you’ll likely be seeing a doctor who can recommend it to you. If anything, this new law will prevent some poor fool from taking a birth control pill/acne med which, among other things, causes liver tumors. It’s not worth it.
If the bill passes, we may indeed see public health benefits.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.