Healthcare is a business. In fact, healthcare is more than just big business; it’s a massive business. It generates trillions of dollars in revenue and profits. People spend money on treatment, prevention, and almost anything they think will improve their health. Along the way, doctors, hospitals, Big Pharma, and supplement companies are all raking in big money.
People who believe in natural treatments tend to shun pharmaceuticals. There are myriad of reasons, but a popular one is the perception that Big Pharma manipulates customers. The belief is that these companies unfairly market to people using fear tactics and that the main concern isn’t the well-being of the patients, but rather the bottom line.
This might have some truth to it, but it’s also important to recognize that the companies offering natural remedies do the same thing. Vitamin manufacturers, supplement companies, personal trainers, and holistic healers all market in a similar fashion. It’s important to remember that no matter what form of healthcare you choose, you’re ultimately the customer in a business relationship. Most people don’t work for free and certainly don’t start a business to go broke.
Is it unethical? I don’t think so. Whether a company is selling a pharmaceutical for fast-acting pain relief, a vitamin C supplement for immune support, a fish oil supplement for improved brain and body function, or an exercise program, it’s up to the consumer to decide what they want and need. They need to educate themselves on the effectiveness of the product, if the claims made in the marketing material are verified by outside sources, while becoming savvy when it comes to analyzing marketing material and the risk/reward benefit.
A recent study highlighted the effectiveness of marketing efforts by Big Pharma. Nowadays, these companies are using the same sales tactics as major consumer retailers. They are focusing on brand personality, hoping to elicit a feeling of emotional attachment with consumers, so patients ask for its products by name when they visit their physician. They want to build a relationship so their brand name becomes synonymous with what it’s for. Think Tylenol, NyQuil, Viagra, Lipitor or a host of others. These are simply the brand names of drugs that come in many other shapes and sizes.
At the end of the day, it’s often brand personality that leads to why a consumer selects one product over another. It’s why you buy a certain brand of supplements, or even take supplements at all. Companies are trying to do whatever they can to attract you as a customer, regardless of what they’re selling. Take some time to educate yourself and make the best and most valuable decision for your health.
“Are You Big Pharma’s New Target Market?” ScienceDaily web site, February 4, 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204123728.htm.