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The following appeared in an article in a consumer-products magazine:
“Two of today’s best-selling brands of full-strength prescription medication for the relief of excess stomach acid, Acid- Ease and Pepticaid, are now available in milder nonprescription forms. Doctors have written 76 million more prescriptions for full-strength Acid-Ease than for full-strength Pepticaid. So people who need an effective but milder nonprescription medication for the relief of excess stomach acid should choose Acid-Ease.”
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this argument, the author claims that people who need a nonprescription medication should chose Acid-Ease over Pepticaid for relief of excess stomach acid. This claim is based on the fact that doctors have written more prescriptions for full-strength Acid-Ease than for full-strength Pepticaid. However on a deeper analysis, it is evident that there are certain relevant aspects that have not been taken into account, leading to a number of mistaken assumptions and logical flaws.
One such flaw is that the author mistakenly correlates the performance of Acid-Ease in prescription form with the nonprescription form. If doctors have written more prescriptions for full-strength Acid-Ease, it does not mean that the milder form of Acid-Ease will follow the same success. Perhaps, the effectiveness of both Acid-Ease and Pepticaid are the same but full strength form of Acid-Ease is cheaper compared to Pepticaid and hence doctors write more prescriptions for Acid-Ease. In such a case if the milder form of Pepticaid costs less than Acid-Ease the argument would be deemed invalid. In order to strengthen the argument, the author should conduct an analysis on the performance of the milder form of both the medicines on patients and then form a conclusion on the medicine that is more effective.
Another statement, significantly weakening the argument is that the author assumes that because doctors write more prescriptions, the medicine is more effective than other medicines. When doctors write prescriptions they take into account factors such as cost of the medicine, availability of the medicine, the use of the medicine etc. For example, full strength Acid-Ease could be more readily available than full strength Pepticaid but both of the medicines are equally effective. If the medicine is readily available, then the doctor perhaps picks one over the other. Also Acid-Ease perhaps is used to cure other illnesses apart from excess stomach acid and hence doctors write more prescriptions because the medicine is used for more than one purpose. To overcome this argument, the author should conduct a survey of the doctors to gather more information why the doctors choose Acid-Ease over Pepticaid. The survey would provide parameters that doctors check before writing a medicine on the prescription.
The author also wrongly concludes that there are only 2 options available to the consumers in the mild nonprescription medicines for relief of excess stomach acid. Perhaps there is a successful medicine already in the market for this type of medicine. Just because Acid-Ease is most prescribed by the doctor in the full strength segment of medicines for relief of excess stomach acid, it does not guarantee a success in the nonprescription segment. To make this argument more valid, the author should conduct a market analysis on the existing medicines and how they are sold to the consumers. The author should also provide certain factors that Acid-Ease is better than other medicines even when Acid-Ease is entering in a new segment of medicines.
After closer examination, it is apparent that there are several logical flaws in the author's attempt to show that people who need an effective but milder nonprescription medication for the relief of excess stomach acid should choose Acid-Ease. To strengthen the argument the author should provide sufficient data such as a market analysis on the nonprescription medicines and an analysis on the doctors to show why they prescribe a certain medicine over another. Without such data the argument is unsubstantiated and logically flawed.
Please rate my AWA, GMAT next week!!
06 Nov 2013, 00:41