British People Are Baffled by the Pharmaceutical Ads That Ran During Harry and Meghan’s Interview

Those who enjoy universal healthcare are unfamiliar with ads for medicine

Can you believe British people have never seen ads for this stuff?
LightRocket via Getty Images

When CBS aired its bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Sunday night, it was the middle of the night across the pond. But many Brits who were eager to watch and unwilling to wait for it to air in their country resorted to using VPN connections or other hacks to stream the American broadcast, and when they did, they were bombarded with something completely foreign to them: pharmaceutical ads.

Writer Ayesha A. Siddiqi has compiled a Twitter thread of British viewers expressing their disbelief at how many American ads are designed to sell drugs. “I can’t understand why American TV ads are like ‘ask your doctor for…’ or ‘tell your doctor,’” one wrote. “Why the fuck would you be the one to tell a DOCTOR what medicine to give you????”

The Washington Post reports that ads for the breast cancer drug Kisqali, the psoriasis medication Skyrizi and Jardiance, which is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, aired during the two-hour primetime interview, and while such commercials are commonplace here in the States, British viewers were stunned by them.

The reason for the shock and confusion is that, like many other European countries, the United Kingdom bans pharmaceutical companies from advertising directly from consumers. As the Post explains, this is done “on the grounds that doctors should be making independent decisions about what drugs to prescribe — rather than fielding requests from patients eager to try something they have seen advertised on television.” In fact, the United States and New Zealand are the only two developed nations that allow pharmaceuticals to be advertised directly to consumers.

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