The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Follow KentWired on Instagram
Today’s Events

OPINION: More than a pill: Why prescription drug commercials are so absurd

KentWired Illustration by Mia Marino

Cue the music. Cue the forced smiles, cringe-worthy dance numbers and terrible jingles. 

From the copycat Ozempic theme inspired by the ‘70s Pilot rock song “Magic” to the jazzed-up ad promoting Jardiance, prescription drug commercials have completely taken over American TV screens… and I’m sick of them. 

Ever since I’ve started putting the news on in the background while I work in my dorm, I’ve noticed the overwhelming number of ads that constantly show some of the happiest people on Earth singing, dancing and jumping for joy. 

 It’s an endless loop of non-stop commercials, one right after another. Some play so many times that I’ve even memorized some of the words to those mind-numbing songs. 

So, why are these ear-splitting commercials constantly flooding our TV screens?

Money, of course. Money, capitalism and power.

The U.S. is the largest pharmaceutical market in the world, and it accounted for nearly half of global revenues in 2022. Drug makers spend around $6 billion on direct-to-consumer advertisements each year, making sure we see every major new drug they’re trying to push.

It’s no wonder that these commercials are plastered on screens all over our country. 

Surprisingly, the U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow drug companies to run ads straight to consumers. Since this is the case, people in other countries are spared the pain of having the theme song of a pill they might not even need stuck in their heads.

Ironically, when Oprah’s highly anticipated 2021 interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on U.S. television, British viewers got a taste of America’s medicine… and they were stunned.

Twitter exploded with British people reacting to the commercials for the first time, as one person wrote, “American healthcare truly is a business.”

It certainly is.

There was a time when these types of ads didn’t exist. Imagine how great that would be.

After the FDA, which regulates prescription drug ads, loosened its rules in 1997, companies unleashed a tidal wave. Today, images of people smiling and laughing with bursts of bright colors are even lurking on websites and placed in magazines… all for a drug.

There are some benefits to these medicine ads, though. By imprinting the names of prescriptions such as Skyrizi (used to treat Crohn’s disease) and Cosentyx (used for conditions like psoriatic arthritis) into people’s minds, it encourages conversations about potential treatment options for illnesses.

While this is true, I’m not surprised that people in other countries exposed to American drug ads think they’re something out of a dystopia. The illusions that some commercials give off are just plain odd.

They paint a picture that people’s lives are forever changed because of one ridiculously expensive medication with a laundry list of side effects. It’s the loop of American capitalism that never seems to end. 

It’s not just about a little pill… it’s much more than that.

Aden Graves is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Aden Graves, Co-Opinion Editor and Reporter
Aden is a junior majoring in journalism and communication studies and is co-opinion editor and a class reporter. This is his second year working for KentWired, and he has served as social media assistant, general assignment reporter, opinion writer and digital tech. He enjoys writing about the arts, entertainment and current issues.

Comments (1)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • G

    Gary MillerDec 7, 2023 at 10:23 am

    What are we telling children with all of these drug commercials?
    cc: Mother’s Little Helper – Rolling Stones