Marketing to Doctors,” John Oliver, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

This eye-opening video reveals how pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars every year marketing drugs to you and your doctors.

A study in 2013 found that 9 out of 10 of the top ten drug manufacturers spent more on marketing than they did on research and development (R&D). Big Pharma spends nearly $4 billion per year marketing drugs to consumers through direct advertising. All of the ads end with the same catchy phrase, “Ask your doctor.” The industry spends nearly $24 billion each year marketing to doctors (with free lunches and dinners, speaking fees, free samples, and other incentives) to encourage them to prescribe their drugs. Then, they monitor the sales and use that information to exert more pressure on doctors.

According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug and more than half of Americans take two. There were more than 4 billion prescriptions written in 2011. In 2013, spending on prescription drugs grew 3 percent, totaling more than $329 billion.

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