Saturday, August 31, 2013

DirectTV Scholarship Essay

Ever since its invention, television has paved the way for sharing information quickly and effectively to reach the masses. From drama series to cartoons, I was always the odd person who loved watching commercials as much as watching the shows themselves. Prescription drug commercials, however, oddly piqued my interest when I was younger. Little did I know that this would subtly nudge me towards my future career as an aspiring pharmacist.

Television has provided numerous opportunities for drug advertisements from large pharmaceutical companies to different kinds of supplements and vitamins. With good intentions, these advertisements appeal to the public by seemingly improving their overall well-being. However the rising cost of medication rising on a daily basis makes it increasingly difficult for the public, especially those without insurance, to afford medication. The saturation of drug-related commercials by large pharmaceutical companies sometimes overshadow the original purpose, which is to treat illnesses along with improving their overall health. While drug companies promote their products effectively, the rising prices have had significant effects on both the patients and pharmacies themselves. While the drug manufacturing process makes it easier for the drug companies to minimize costs while maximizing profit, but the prices set for pharmacies and patients are at times grandiose. Many insurance companies' reimbursements to pharmacies are extremely low, to the point that pharmacies are not able to make much profit as well. The fact that more and more people are suffering from long-term diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol is also a factor. These long-term diseases demand dependence on taking these drugs on a monthly basis, something that the public may not be able to afford.
By promoting reliance on drugs, pharmaceutical companies sometimes lose sight of another important point. This important point is that the public also needs to take the initiative to change their lifestyles in addition to taking medication. While television allowed the different types of medication to be promoted, these commercials also must compete against fast food commercials. It is simple to say that consumption of foods high in sugar and fats is socially acceptable because its consequences can be remedied by taking medication. As a result, I believe the task of educating the public on the proper use of medication and promoting the individual initiative to improve one's own health lies with healthcare professionals, mainly doctors and pharmacists.

Doctors, as one of the most trusted health professionals, are able to prescribe medications to treat patients' medical problems. However doctors are understandably busy and patients often are unable to spend sufficient time with them to discuss the scope of their medical history. Many times patients are unaware and uneducated about the medications prescribed to them. The responsibility for educating the patient now lies with the pharmacist. My personal goal is to provides services beyond those expected from a typical pharmacist by my desire to spend sufficient time with each patient to educate them regarding their medication and medical history, rather than simply dispense medication and leave. As medical professionals, pharmacists also have the responsibility of being up-to-date regarding upcoming diseases and new drugs. In this way, I find television is one of the most powerful and effective mediums for learning about new medications and healthcare-related topics. Ultimately, I believe it would benefit the public much if television were to emphasize more on providing programs to educate the public regarding health and medication rather than simply be a method of advertisement.  

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