Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pill Popping Ads


By Guest Blogger Kate Collins

Pills My biggest pet peeve – hmm, where do I begin? Okay, I guess I’d have to say that what drives me the craziest (not that it’s a long drive) are the hundred of ads on TV every evening for prescription drugs. During one hour, I counted nine. Nine different drugs being shoved in my face per hour! Three hours of television viewing equals twenty-seven drug commercials per evening. Times seven days a week would be -- Wowzers! Are we that sick?

Grim reaper What totally irks me is that in a one minute commercial, more than half of that time is used for the side effects. You want to fix those dry eyes? Oh, boy, do we have a pill for you! Be prepared, however, for glaucoma, seizures, dry mouth, liver damage, your eyeballs popping out of your head and your dog choking on them –  and possibly death. Gee, those dry eyes don’t sound so bad after all.

And then there’s the sneaky way the ad companies disguise the side effects. You’ll see people laughing, dancing, flying balloons, shopping for shoes, picking flowers or their noses – anything to distract you from listening to the bad things that can happen when you swallow that pill. Next time an ad comes on, mute the volume and just watch. You’d never guess you were watching a drug ad. And after you try that experiment, do it the opposite way. Don’t watch the ad, just listen to the warnings. They’ll have you running for the hills – of Switzerland.

Other countries ban pharmaceutical ads, and personally, I’m in favor of that. I’ve read that doctors often prescribe pills that patients ask for rather than what the doctor feels is best – because the patient sees an ad and decides that’s what he wants. Is that how a doctor should practice medicine? I don’t think so.

Red pill And don’t even get me started about the whole “take a pill for the symptom and don’t ask about what caused it” syndrome, otherwise known as TPFSDAWCI. (Bet there’s a pill for that, too). I asked a doctor why some people got high blood pressure as they aged and others didn’t. He said it was genetics. Guess what? He was wrong. A bad diet and lack of movement cause it. There are tons of studies on how to reverse high blood pressure naturally, but the sad truth is, doctors are trained to equate a symptom with a pill. “Here’s your prescription. You’re done. Next patient please.” And because of those annoying TV ads, we’re trained to expect nothing else.

That, in a very big nutshell, is my biggest pet peeve. Anyone else sick of those ads, too?
Anemone Kate Collins writes the Flowershop Mysteries.  Her latest, Sleeping with Anemone, is now available.  For more information on Kate and her work, check out Kate's Web site.  Kate is a member of the Cozy Chicks Blog and posts on Mondays.