Tell Your Doctor to Give You Some Prescription Drugs

October 14, 2009

Cars, food, entertainment:

I’ll be blunt. I don’t like advertisements. Unless your stupid product falls under one of those categories, I don’t want to know about it, so you can cut the television ads. They’re pointless. And even some ads that plug one of those acceptable products have long since become vomit-worthy. I’m looking your way, Taco Bell.

Apparently, the brilliant strategy Taco Bell pays their ad executives to come up with is to slap together an only mildly annoying ad…then run it approximately one-thousand times on a given day, for two solid weeks until the very sight of a volcano taco makes the TV watching victim want to hurl. Rinse, and repeat.

Actually, Taco Bell might be doing us a favor by letting us skip their food and go straight for the vomiting by way of their commercials.

But this post isn’t about Taco Bell, as much as it’s played into the last two paragraphs. It’s about these ads:

Drug ads are ridiculous. The US and New Zealand, I hear, are the only places that allow this junk. So I guess Europe gets on the board with 1 reason it’s better than America.

Americans are a bunch of crybabies. As soon as something goes slightly wrong – we get a tummyache or the sniffles, we want a fix now. In the old days, that didn’t happen. Back when average men worked in smog factories and ate lunch out of buckets, know what they did when they mangled their hands in the machinery? They drank some ‘tonic,’ and then went home and chopped wood for the fireplace…because the boss fired them for breaking the machine.

The fact that Americans are crybabies plays a big role in our healthcare debate. I’ll explain that on a later date. I just like throwing that out there so I can watch what happens.

And the fact that Americans are crybabies is the reason that drug companies spend so much time telling us about their candy-coated products.

See, Americans have more choices about everything than anyone has ever had. Most of those choices happen to be stupid choices, but stupid choices are what keeps our great economy churning. So it makes sense that Americans should have lots of stupid choices when it comes to drugs.

It’s pretty easy to make an ad for a prescription drug:
Step 1. Pay some guy to come up with a catchy drug name.
Step 2. Make some graphics of the drug dissolving in someone’s body.
Step 3. Find a fast talking guy to read all the horrible side effects the drug may have. No one cares about side effects. That’s why Outback Steakhouse is still in business.
Step 4. Pay a family to pretend they’re having a great time, now that Dad’s prostate is back to normal.

The result? Some guy has a minor pain in his body. He sees an appealing drug ad where the people look much happier than he is. He wishes he could be as happy as those people. He goes on WebMD and enters his pitiful symptoms. He hopes he has something that can be treated with that drug he saw on TV. He narrows his self-diagnosis down to eleven possible diseases and picks his favorite out of those, because WebMD, despite the name, is not an MD and cannot narrow your possible diseases to fewer than eleven. He then goes to a real doctor, who went to school for ten years to learn how to diagnose slobs like him, and proceeds to roll out his expert opinion as he sits on that paper covered exam bed, and demand to be prescribed the drug he saw on TV.

When the ad says, “Ask your doctor if Xanax is right for you,” what they really want you to say is, Tell your doctor that Xanax is right for you, and you’ll sue him for malpractice if he doesn’t give you some free samples.”

This phenomenon – people thinking they are doctors, is all over the place. There’s no better reason for people to consider themselves ‘spiritual’ but not ‘religious.’ People are their own doctors, teachers and preachers. Doctors are like churches. We both speak with authority to people about what is wrong, and what needs to be done to fix it. These days, the most natural thing to do would be to discard that opinion in favor of some ‘alternative’ medicine. And it’s all based on some colorful advertising.

The reprieve for the doctors come when people find that alternative medicine is usually a scam. I don’t know where the reprieve is for the church. What do you think? About ads, about WebMD, about Taco Bell, or about that rabbit trail that really did lead to church? Are we more empowered with so much information at hand, or even more foolish?

Update: I had an email come my way from a reader especially concerned with overmedicating. He asked that I link to an article he wrote, and I’m feeling good, thanks to my Zoloft, so I decided to oblige. It’s an interesting read:

2 responses to Tell Your Doctor to Give You Some Prescription Drugs

  1. Gabrielle, i should clarify. By non-prescription i was meaning cold medicine & vitamins ect you can buy without a prescription, not the illegal type of non prescription drugs.

    That makes more sense if it is drugs deliberately meant to do strange things to your head that you are talking about

  2. Ask youtube about Progenitorivox – 'tis an interesting commentary on the pharmaco industry and society. Well worth a watch when you get a few minutes.