The U.S. has 4.3% of the world's population but consumes 42% of the prescription drugs in the world. Clearly something is terribly wrong with this situation! Only the U.S. and New Zealand allow TV advertising direct to consumers and New Zealand is already considering changing their laws.
The U.S. has permitted drug companies to advertise to consumers since 1997 and recently the New England Journal of Medicine reported on how the FDA's drug-ad enforcement has steadily declined. One of the concerns is that audio warnings about safety are being overshadowed by the peaceful scenes and relaxed people in the ads. The FDA responded by saying it plans to study how 2,000 people react to TV drug ads.