I was binge watching some shows this week and was surprised by the number of prescription drug ads. I know they have been there for — like — ever, but this time around, rather than fast forwarding through them, I actually watched some of them. What a range of direct to consumer pitches — rheumatoid arthritis, chronic plaque psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain, spinal cord injury nerve pain, pain after shingles, psoriatic arthritis, prevention of stroke and blood clots, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers, aid in smoking cessation, Type 2 diabetes, ankylosing spondylitis, asthma, migraines, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), obstetrical/gynecological drugs, erectile dysfunction, bipolar disorder, sleeplessness and even chronic heart failure.

Now, I believe in an informed consumer. But, let’s face it, these are first and foremost ADS intended to convince patients into believing these products are in the front of treatment options. It minimizes the role of physicians {although many of them are so detached from actual treatment plans}. In a perfect world, your primary care physician is the quarterback of a treatment team that includes specialists. In our world, doctors often don’t talk to each other so patients get over-prescribed and/or receive prescriptions that counter existing medications or create new problems.

Because these are slick advertising pieces, the actors portrayed live otherwise normal lives despite their maladies. And their illness seems to exist in a vacuum with other medical issues. I mean, you see asthmatics running around in fields of clover; people with arthritis tying junior’s shoes; cancer patients bouncing around a day after chemotherapy; those with psoriasis dancing, swimming and touching their partners {after treatment, of course}; radiant grandparents who are able to chase their smiling grandchildren and puppies around the park because they took the right medication; diabetics enjoying {occasional} junk food; and celebrities endorsing products. Off-label uses such as weight loss and blood pressure reduction are often heralded. Who doesn’t want to lose a couple of pounds or lower their blood pressure?

By law, pharmaceutical advertising does have to include side effects like swelling of legs, hands and feet; capillary leak syndrome; fever; muscle pain; unusual bruising; dizziness, blurry vision; rash; hives; blisters; nervous system and blood disorders; lymphoma; swollen tongue; dry mouth; weight gain; inability to fight infections; nausea, diarrhea; constipation; depression; dehydration; suicidal thoughts; and, oh, death.

And there is always a litany of “don’ts” and “ifs”. Don’t take {name of  drug} if …” My favorite is “Don’t take … if allergic to it.” I mean, come on. How do you know if you’re allergic to something before you take it? “If you experience shortness of breath or swelling of the throat,  seek emergency health services immediately.” I mean, come on. Isn’t that just common sense — any time?

Again, I’m not against information, but misinformation — or sugar coated information — can be harmful to your health. I hope everyone develops a good, honest relationship with their health care professional. Be part of the conversation, but recognize you are unique and your heath issues are unique, with treatment not to be determined by a 60 second, actor-portrayed sales pitch.

And that’s my rant for the day.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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6 Responses to Rx

  1. Jim Matthews says:

    Joe, Well I must throw in my 2 cents. August 1996 I am at Sloan Kettering for chest cancer namely leiomyosarcoma, cell type of soft tissue cancer. Yes physician Dr bob Ginzburg son of a butcher in Toronto is viewed as one of best thoracic surgeons. He cuts 1/3 my lung, right diaphragm, and 3″ esophagus. Grapefruit sized tumor to put it in perspective of fruit. 5 hours later after tumor is resected, I awake.
    I am informed after tumor board meets radiation. Massive area many of the board is not convinced. I pray about it and decide to put it off. I recover and get better. Become vegetarian and juice nut for my fall back ne lifestyle. Dr Ginzburg succumbs to lung cancer several years after my surgery. I remain a 22 year leiomyosarcoma cancer. I am grateful for Dr and the fellows who removed the malignant cancer in my body. Still weary of all these medicines. Dr Bob said one thing to me, ” Until we open you up. We cannot make an honest assessment of your Cancer.” He was a great physician.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so agree with you. It cracks me up when the ad says, “Tell your doctor about ______ Rx.”. Really?  I guess doctors don’t know every thing, but do they want you to self-prescribe based


    • Unfortunately most patients are numbers. I was so blessed to find a doctor who cared about me. I trust her with my life … literally. I believe in information, but a good doctor puts all the pieces together. Thanks for the kind words. Stay healthy.


  3. Bruce R. Matthew says:

    Hi Joe….I have noticed these drug company ads, and I find them very annoying. These ads are about drugs that a pharmaceutical company has a patent on. and they can charge more for these drugs, because other companies cannot manufacture these drugs until the patent expires. They want you to go to your doctor, and request their particular drugs. What they aren’t telling you is that generic drugs will work just as well, and they cost much less.

    I’m reminded of an old adage: The “love” of money is the root of all evil. Some people will be deceptive, tell half truths, or outright lie. They will do anything for the sake of making money.
    There is also another adage: Let the buyer beware.

    Liked by 1 person

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