Which Drugs Live Up to Their Advertised Hype?

Photo (cc) by StockMonkeys.com

Drug commercials are hard to miss, but can you believe them?

For instance, how about the TV ad featuring an older woman with arthritis as she walks along a sandy shore and swims in a lake? Of course, her activities are possible because of her new arthritis drug, or at least that’s what the ad suggests.

Then there’s the ad where a couple in their mid-50s smile at each other over a glass of wine, before sharing a dance and retreating into a bedroom. Again, the ad implies that the tryst is possible because of the latest drug treating erectile dysfunction.

According to Consumer Reports, drugmakers plow billions of dollars into advertising for prescription medications.

In fact, from July 2013 to July 2014, drug manufacturers spent $1.9 billion on ads for just the top 10 drugs alone.

Are the drugs worth all the hype? CR took a look at several drugs to see just how effective they really are.

  • Cialis and Viagra. Used to treat erectile dysfunction, “drugmakers know that millions of men are happy to pay for a pill to improve their sex lives, even if insurance doesn’t cover the cost — about $70 for 10  5-­milligram tablets of Cialis (tadalafil) and $332 for 10  50-milligram tablets of Viagra (sildenafil),” CR said. Although CR said the pills do work, they have notable risk factors, such as vision and hearing loss or a chance of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lyrica. Also known as pregabalin, Lyrica is designed to treat fibromyalgia. It runs about $260 a month. But CR said the benefits of Lyrica as a treatment are small. Plus, there are generics of other fibromyalgia-treatment drugs, such as amitriptyline, gabapentin and paroxetine, available for $106 or less a month.
  • Celebrex. This arthritis drug costs about $181 to $282 per month. It also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and intestinal bleeding. CR recommends trying exercise and losing weight, plus generic, nonprescription ibuprofen or naproxen to treat arthritis pain.
  • Abilify. With costs exceeding $900 a month, CR said this depression-treating drug provides little benefit to individuals struggling with depression. CR’s verdict on this medication: “Don’t jump to Abilify.” Side effects include heart attack, stroke, weight gain and type- 2 diabetes.

Click here for CR’s verdict on Humira (for Crohn’s disease), Eliquis and Xarelto (for atrial fibrillation), Xeljanz (for rheumatoid arthritis) and Symbicort (for COPD).

What do you think of the advertising and marketing that goes into trying to sell prescription drugs? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Are you spending too much money on name-brand medications? If so, generics are likely a good alternative, but watch this video for a word of caution:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher
17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

Many everyday items do not require meticulous hand washing.

How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things
How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things

Find out where to sell, donate or recycle items — and feel good about it.

Retirees Can Dodge Taxes on These 9 Types of Income
Retirees Can Dodge Taxes on These 9 Types of Income

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

The Annuity Everyone Needs — and Anybody Can Get
The Annuity Everyone Needs — and Anybody Can Get

This simple strategy can put more money in your pocket during retirement.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19
Do This in the Car If You Want to Avoid COVID-19

It takes just seconds to take this simple preventive measure.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.