America has a long history of drug pushing
Before you can wrap your head around drug ads, you have to understand why there's an agency to regulate food and drugs. The Food and Drug Administration was established in the beginning of the 20th century, when all manner of drug-ish concoctions were marketed en masse; this was the era of patent medicines, a time when charlatans hawked cure-all snake oil tonics.
One drug, for example, was marketed as a post-surgical antiseptic, then a floor cleaner, then a cure for gonorrhea, before it finally succeeded as a breath freshener -- today you can still buy Listerine in pretty much any pharmacy when you need to amp up your oral hygiene. Don't you miss the days when your floor cleaner could turn into a mouthwash?
With some exceptions, the average patent medicine was a thinly veiled intoxicant, garnished by herbs with spotty medical benefits. Case in point: Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, which was meant to treat menstrual cramps, and contained a few semi-legit ingredients that mostly amounted to a mild anti-inflammatory and diuretic. The problem was that Lydia's tonic also contained about 25% alcohol, with "problem" being subjective, of course. Other "health tonics" from this time period include Coca-Cola -- which you may know originally contained cocaine, a surefire way to get people hooked.