Leadbelly, (Love the handle by the way)
Since we're disclosing, I work in healthcare as a sort of administrator with hospitalists and other physicians every day. I even have to do a part of their C.E.U.s once they reach a certain level.
That said, who do you think "educates" those physicians on the very meds they are prescribing? We all would like to think it was the physician doing hours of research, but in reality, it's the pharma rep. Ever wonder why different drugs are prescribed for the same diagnosis in different parts of the country? It's not as bad as it used to be, probably because of more female doctors on staff, but there was a reason that every pharm rep fit a certain...profile. And once they got one MD, he got two more, and they got two more, etc. Again, it's not nearly as bad now as it used to be.
Also, excluding emergency medicine, the patient IS the customer. Ask the regulating agencies and TJC. And while the customer is not always right, neither is the doctor. Especially as the time a physician is actually allowed to spend with the patient dwindles more and more. Now it has gotten to a point where someone goes in, says my knee hurts, and the physician either writes a scrip for whatever happens to be his preferred pill or sends the pt for diagnostics, and he/she's outta there to the next patient.
While I'm not a fan of the propaganda in the ads, it at least gives enough information that if someone has a symptom or is not getting along with the meds they are on, they at least know what to google to get information without having to type in "sore knee". Personally, I think that whether it's Rx, cars, or even politics, the solution should be some sort of truth in advertising law. Basically you can say what you want. But it had better be the truth.