Pharmaco-Lexicography: the new phrase “Ask your prescriber”

I heard an intersting new phrase used in a drug commercial. American drug ads are highly formulaic (probably due to regulations), so they almost always end with the phrase “Ask your doctor if X is right for you.”

However, a recent Ambien CR TV ad used the phrase “ask your prescriber” instead of doctor. Apparently, the phrase has been in use since last year, and was the result of petitioning by nurse practitioners (who can also prescribe some drugs).

Of course, it could also be because the Lake Superior State University placed “Ask your Doctor” on its 2007 list of banished words, describing the phrase as “The chewable vitamin morphine of marketing.

Amusingly, another common phrase using “prescriber” is “prescriber profiling” – the practice of drug companies buying prescription data from pharmacies in order to customize sales pitches for individual doctors, and then track the effect of the promotions.

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