The FDA allowed this kind of advertising starting in 1997. The first ad for a prescription medication was in 1983 and was pulled after a few days.
The US and New Zealand are the only countries which allow this kind of advertising. Personally I wouldn't mind reading a magazine which was not full of pages of fine print of disclosures of side effects and watching TV without commercials with the soft voice over of potential issues.
I think its a complete waste of money for all these ads. If you see a medication advertised, you have no way of knowing if it will work for you or is really needed even if you have that condition. I just ignore those ads anyway and would be happy never to see one again.