“Attention All Americans / Free Medication Commercial”
This TV commercial for the Prescription Savings Network is currently airing nationwide and consists mainly of what appears to be “B-roll” (low-budget) video footage of generic people and scenes while the announcer tells us how we can get free prescription medications. This same service is also offered online at www.FreeMedsHotline.com.
What the announcer in this commercial tells us:
Attention all Americans! Are you tired of paying too much for your prescription medication? Did you know Americans pay more than $325 billion annually on prescription drugs? Did you know you can get those same medications for free? Pick up the phone and call right now. The experts at the Prescription Savings Network will see if you qualify to receive free brand-name prescription medication.
Whether you’re insured, uninsured, or underinsured, brand name prescription medications could be free! By picking up the phone and calling the Prescription Savings Network you’ll receive a free prescription savings card. Then in just minutes you’ll learn how you can start receiving free brand-name medication today! So don’t be one of the many not taking advantage of the free prescriptions they’re entitled to. Call now and get your prescription medications free! Don’t wait, pick up your phone and call now.
Analysis of the claims and phrases used:
- What the announcer said: Did you know Americans pay more than $325 billion annually on prescription drugs? Did you know you can get those same medications for free?
- What some people may think this means: People in this country spend a lot of money on medicine every year but if I call this company I will get all of mine for free
- What it actually means: This isn’t really a claim. It is a statement, then a question. Americans do spend a lot of money each year on medicines, but asking the question “did you know you can get those same medications for free?” does not mean you will get your medicine for free or that all Americans can get all $325 billion worth of medications for free.
- What the announcer says: By picking up the phone and calling the Prescription Savings Network you’ll receive a free prescription savings card. Then in just minutes you’ll learn how you can start receiving free brand-name medication today!
- What people might take it to mean: All I have to do is call to get my card so I can get free prescriptions and medications
- What it actually means: Call now, and for free, they will send you prescription discount card – NOT a “free prescription card”. This means, that for free, they will send you the “discount card”. However at no time is any mention made about how much of a discount this card entitles you to, who accepts this card, or what its value is. It is only after “in just minutes”, after providing much information that they will tell you if you qualify for any discounts.
- What the commercial said: ..don’t be one of the many not taking advantage of the free prescriptions they’re entitled to. Call now and get your prescription medications free!
- What people might take it to mean: All I have to do is call and I can get all of my medications for free
- What it actually means: This claim is clear “call now and get your prescription medications free”. However, you now have 11 seconds to read the tiny, 117 word disclaimer (below).
At the end of the commercial, the following very small, very difficult to read fine-print is shown on-screen for 11 seconds:
Qualified callers can apply for free prescriptions through pharmaceutical manufacturers patient assistance programs (PAP). Certain restrictions apply. Actual savings vary by prescritpion and qualifications. Income qualifications may apply. Prescription Savings Network, its parent, its partners, subsidiaries and affiliates participating providers are paid advertisers offering services unrelated to free prescription helpline. Become a participating provider by emailing email@example.com. By calling the Prescription Savings network you agree to receive a call back by up to two different providers, even if you are on the “do not call” registry. Prescription Savings Network is a matching service only and is not otherwise affiliated with or responsible for the representations or services provided by companies with which you are matched.
What this disclaimer means:
- Only “qualified” callers will be eligible for anything. To qualify you must provide several bits of personal information
- After you qualify, you must then apply to each medication manufacturer’s PAP (patient assistance program) – something which you can do yourself, directly with the manufacturer
- How much, if any you save, will depend on your medication and who manufacturers it
- This company, and all of its parters are advertisers – Advertisers are there to sell you something
- When you call, you agree to receive more sales calls by “providers” which we know from item #4, above, are advertisers. You agree to have them call you even if you are on the national Do Not Call list
- This company is only a “matching service”. This company “matches” you (sells your information) to its “providers” (advertisers).
This TV commercial uses little deception however some people may feel that the 11 second, near-impossible to read disclaimer “un-does” some of the claims made.