Direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising challenges traditional medical ethics because it suggests that health care is a commercial enterprise, not a paternalistic endeavor of duty-bound professionals and enlightened regulators. Stalwart defenders of the old hierarchical physician-directed system will not succumb to the trend toward decentralization, which DTC advertising exemplifies, without putting up a fight.

Ronald F. White is professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Ethics at Mount St. Joseph University.
FDA and Drug RegulationHealth and Healthcare
Other Independent Review articles by Ronald F. White
Summer 2009 The Modern Health Care Maze: Development and Effects of the Four-Party System
Spring 2007 Institutional Review Board Mission Creep: The Common Rule, Social Science, and the Nanny State