The marketing and provision of medications and medical devices directly to consumers is a comparably new trend that is characterized by the increased number of advertisements on TV, in the press, on posters, as well as on the Internet. Potential consumers can also receive information about new drugs and devices from sent brochures and received e-mails. The discussion of the pros and cons of this trend is open, and there are many controversies regarding this phenomenon. On the one hand, direct-to-consumer advertising is of an informative nature, and people receive an opportunity to learn more about interesting products. Consumers can learn what alternatives are present and make a reasonable choice. Furthermore, such advertisements are important to attract the people’s attention to the problem they may have. Being interested in a particular product, potential consumers can consult clinicians to receive additional information. Such advertisements can also educate people and contribute to the open discussion of certain health problems.
On the other hand, such a trend can have negative effects on patients because they can choose medications and devices without being fully informed, they can ignore risks associated with the use of popular drugs, and the issue of patients’ safety is significant in this case. Decisions regarding the use of this or that drug and different medical devices can be made only by clinicians. Furthermore, patients influenced by advertisements can ignore the physicians’ recommendations and prescriptions when they choose different medications. The additional threat is the absence of adequate regulation. As a result, advertisements can demonstrate medications and devices that are not fully checked in terms of their safety, and their distribution can be limited.