Better Homes & Gardens is the third most popular magazine in the United States, bested only by AARP Magazine and AARP Bulletin (AARP is the American Association for Retired Persons; these publications are targeted towards the burgeoning Baby Boomer demographic).
Over 7.6 million American women are mailed a copy every month. And when you take into account all its sister publications (like Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Parents), all under the Meredith Corporation umbrella, you can deduce that over 75 million women are exposed to not only recipes, stress-reduction techniques, beauty tips and decorating features, but to targeted advertisements. Which, disturbingly, are often those of Big Pharma: Merck, Lilly, Pfizer, et al.
I became intrigued when I was flipping through an issue and was horrified to see page after page of prescription drug ads. In a recent issue, I counted six (besides others for over-the-counter meds and ultra-beneficial products like M&Ms, Campbell’s Soup, refined Domino’s Sugar, McDonald’s, Eggos and Cocoa Pebbles cereal). All except one were 2-3 page ads (the second and third pages needed to list all the myriad, horrifying potential side effects). They were mainly for bladder and cholesterol issues: Vesicare, Enbral (psoriasis), Livalo, Toviaz, Celebrex (arthritis) and Zetia.
Only the United States and New Zealand allows for television advertising of prescription drugs; and the United States — which makes up five percent of the world’s population — accounts for forty-two percent of the money spent on prescription drugs. (sourced from rationalwiki.org).
Seeing an ad does not necessarily incite action. But when your doctor is pushing pills (because they get research stipends and other incentives for doing so) and you are seeing them in every other ad on the TV and in your favorite magazine, and you don’t know any better, you might just think they are a good idea. Taking these pills, I promise you, will cause much harm and very slight, if any, good.