There was a time, before the internet, when such advertising was a necessary counterpoint to HMOs influence on doctors to always choose the cheapest solution, but now that the information is out there for all to see, these ads really do nothing to inform, their only effect is to artificially inflate demand for expensive patent drugs. But at the same time, it was the HMOs who first promoted this idea that, once you pay the flat rate for insurance, all your medical needs, including drugs, is taken care of. That sense of entitlement is baked into all subsequent health plans, including the Medicare drug benefit and ACA. A more reasonable alternative comes from an unexpected source: George W. Bush, who early in the the Medicare drug debate proposed that only truly needy patients or those with extraordinarily high drug expenses would get any help from the government. My feeling is that such a system would have worked better to control costs. Patients would decide for themselves whether a drug with a little less of a minor side effect is really worth 10 times as much as an older generic. Seniors, of which I am one, would get used to the idea that pills, and lots of them, are just a normal cost of growing old. Of course, all of this is a trade-off. Anything you do to reduce the possibility of "obscene" drug company profits, including banning advertising, is going to reduce the incentive to develop new breakthrough drugs.