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Friday, October 16, 2009

Stop the mindscrew

God help America. Here I am watching late-night TV, and they keep running ads urging people who are already on anti-depressant drugs to "talk to your doctor" about adding yet another one to your system. "Side effects may include death." Any deal to change health care in this country ought to include getting these awful, awful prescription drug ads off the airwaves.

Comments (13)

I hate those drug commercials, and the ones involving drugs for depression in particular! Who actually goes to their doctor and say, "Hey doc, I think I need Prozac, can you prescribe some?" And then there are the drugs that your insurance won't approve even if your doctor granted your humble request, like Lyrica, the new fibromyalgia drug. It's all just so stupid.

And get them out of the magazines too!

I absolutely agree with you and have been saying so for years. The advertising directly to the public of these new designer remedies is creating demand for high priced products that are no better than the tried and true.

They even make up diseases for the drugs. I would have never known I had restless leg syndrome if I hadn't seen that commercial!

I'm not big on regulations on industry, but in this case there really ought to be a law.

You guys aren't watching these the right way. What you need to do is keep a stopwatch handy. When the commercial starts, time the commercial and then take a split time when the side-effects disclaimer starts.

There's a couple of them on now -- one for some anti-smoking treatment comes to mind -- where the time taken listing all the side effects is actually longer than the time spent touting the product.

The adds are designed to sell product and not just warn of "side" effects. And, the ads work, too.

he ads work, too.

Just ask any doctor

That's not the only one that lists "death" as a possible side effect. Is it just me who thinks death is a primary effect?

Easy. Never, ever, watch network TV.

I watched a great documentary last night on OPB about the voyage of Magellan, taken in a time when obsessive mental illness led to great things, and people with ADD were considered geniuses.

Prior to that, we watched a series of Mr Bean skits from Netflix, and were practically asphyxiating with laughter, especially the skit of Mr Bean and his girlfriend at the horror movie.

The Politicians think thrice before interrupting the flow of Gold to the TV folk, upon whom they depend at election time. But it does make Doctors' lives miserable, & drives up medical costs. In an Ideal world, short of an absolute ban, prescriptions of any drug advertised to the public would not be paid for by any insurance, government or private. But don't hold your breath.

Drug ads were banned until the 90s -- actually, regulated by the FDA so that they were effectively impossible to get approval for. The FDA changed the regs, and the ads exploded. Some smart laywers have opined that now that the genie is out of the bottle, there isn't any legal way to put it back.

What's equally insidious in its own way is the influx of pharma ads aimed at animals. After all, if a particular drug manages to work in animal trials but leads to particularly nasty side effects in humans, why not turn around and sell it as a miracle cure for Rover or Kitty?

The reason why I find these so vile is that they usually run during documentaries and other shows aimed toward children. I'm never thrilled with the decline and death of a pet, any pet, but I'm also cognizant of the reality that I'm probably going to continue to live for twice the total lifespans of my cats. I've watched friends nearly bankrupt themselves paying for treatments for dogs and cats that might extend their lives for months at most, and with enough "interesting" side effects that the poor animal is miserable for the entire treatment period even if the treatment works. These ads do nothing but advance hope for what's effectively experimental veterinary medicine, and they end up with people both emotionally and financially crushed when the treatment doesn't work or stops working.

Sorry: again, I understand all too well the emotional bond between pets and keepers, and I definitely understand the response to want to deny the reality that anything short of a parrot or box turtle will die within our lifetimes. Many years back, the cat of an ex-girlfriend drank spilled antifreeze, and the vet treating him said that the only possible option would be to get Buffalo a liver and kidney transplant, which was definitely experimental surgery at the time. She was perfectly willing to get together the $30k necessary for the procedure, and she had it all together and okayed the procedure when Buffalo died. Faced with that decision, with knowing that he'd have been on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life (and he was already nearly eight years old, meaning that he wouldn't have taken well to the change in his routine), and that he'd never understand why all of this was happening to him, I would have instead let him go and save him the further torment.

As explained here by the producers of an ad which TV -- fully paid! -- REFUSED to air in late night time slots, promoting a remedy for excess adrenaline and boiling blood, is on YouTube here:


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