Thursday, April 01, 2010

The New Drug Ads: Don't Ask Your Doctor About Dethamil

Within five minutes this morning I saw an ad for what I’ll call Pharmalax (“Ask your doctor if Pharmalax is right for you.”) and a legal notification that people who had the misfortune to use last years’s Pharamalax, Dethamil, could join a class action suit against the manufacturer if they were experiencing involuntary motion, facial twitches, running sores, hysterical blindness or ‘suicidal thoughts or actions’ Personally I doubt whether the people who experience ‘suicidal actions’ (previously known as “suicide”) will be signing up for the law suit, but everyone else should.

It certainly puts the Pharmalax ad in perspective. A smiling woman cavorts with her children because some symptom she wasn’t even aware of has been ‘managed’ and masked. She hugs her husband while the dog licks her hand the speedy voice dude in the background tells us “possible side effects may include migraine headache, loss of memory, muscle cramps, dyskinesia, crippling nausea, uncontrollable rage, narcolepsy and multiple personality disorder." The good news is your new personalities will be able to sue separately under the terms of the Pharmalax class action suit.

My question is – what the hell is going on? All I see on television are these drug ads for diseases I never knew existed. Apparently my doctor doesn’t know about them either since it’s now my job to inform him about them and consult on my medications. I prefer my doctor to tell me what medications I need. I assume he has better sources of information than whatever random ad he saw on television the night before. Are we really that sick? Do we really have that many new ailments? Or do the pharmaceutical companies just want us to feel that way? I take no drugs myself, except caffeine (my doctor says it’s right for me). It’s possible side effect include writing jittery screeds about the crazy stuff I see on television. I can live with that.

My Dad used to say that he went to his lawyer for medical advice (all those stress related illnesses they shared); and to his doctor for legal advice (all those malpractice suits had taught the old medic well).

Maybe the pharmaceutical companies should take a note from Dad. I’m waiting for the next ad, for Toxifil, the next miracle drug:

“Ask your lawyer if Toxifil is right for you.”

I mean, seriously – there’s no point in destroying your health with some new wonder drug if there’s not going to be a decent pay-out at the end.

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