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Essay on how well reasoned was an argument - scale of 0-5

mukmuk 6 / 1  
Aug 30, 2007   #1
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 fullstrength 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 you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning ...

An advertisement in a consumer-products magazine convinces readers to use Acid-Ease, an effective but milder nonpresciption midicine. The argument claims that acid-Base would relieve the consumer of the excess stomach acid in an effective way. The argument is based on the assumption that doctors have written seventy six million more prescritpions for full strength Acid-Ease than for full-strength Pepticaid and that the medicines are now available in milder and nonprescription form. The argument is not very convincing as it fails to adress some major issues to derive the conclusion.

First, the argument is based on the assumption that doctors have written seventy six million more prescription for full strength Acid-Ease than for full-length Pepticaid. However, the argument fails to prove a reliabale measure of how these figures were arrived at and basis used to calculate this figure. For instance, it could be possible that the same doctor, who is in favor of using Acid-Ease,might have prescribed the same midicine to number of patients. A

more reliable figures like the total number of doctors surveyed,the basis on which they recommended this medicine and so on would be helpful.

Second, the argument never adresses whether the prescipted drugs by seventy six million doctors actually relieved the pain of the patients.A more specific analysis reports as to how many people used the medicine and how many of them actually could get relief,the nature,severity of pain would help in drawing a frutiful conclusion that the medicine was really effective.

Third, the assumption states that the drug or medicine is available without prescritpion. The availability of a medicine without the requirement of prescrition would actually call into question the safety and effectiveness of the drug.People can think of this as a strategy of the product company to increase its reduced sales and may doubt on the safety of the medicine usage.

Finally, the argument provides no evidence that could prove Acid-Ease as a effective but nonprescription medication, which actually provides relief of excess stomach. Evidences to prove this argument would prove the conclusion logical.

In sum, the stated arguement is a weak argument. To strengthen the argument, evidences of actual number of people getting pain relief out of total number of people using the medicine should be provided.Also, the basis of survey which led to the figure of seventy six million more

doctors prescibing Acid-Ease should be stated in more detail and yet cricially analysed.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Aug 31, 2007   #2

While some of the points you made are true, for example, that it would be helpful to know how much relief the patients got from their prescriptions, I feel that you are missing the point of the question. You question how they arrived at the 76 million figure, and whether it is reliable; but the more important question is, even if there were millions more written for one brand than the other, is that really relevant to determining which drug is better? WHY were more written? Was it because one drug company paid incentives to doctors to prescribe their product? Perhaps Acid-Ease has been on the market twice as long as Pepticaid; we are not told. There is no way to determine whether doctors prescribing more of one drug means that doctors have more faith in that drug or patients find it more effective. The failure of the conclusion which is drawn is that it assumes facts which are not given, specifically, that the fact that doctors wrote more prescriptions means the medicine is better.

Your paragraph which begins "Third" is irrelevant to the issue at hand and should be removed. This is not a discussion about whether prescription drugs are better than over-the-counter drugs. Keep in mind that the purpose of the question is to determine whether you can spot the weaknesses in the underlying assumptions; it is a logic question, not a debate about drug efficacy.

I think for reasoning points, I would have to give it a 2.5. As always, this is just my personal rating, as I don't know what standards GMAT uses.


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