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little watermelon Sunday 01 July 2007

May Cause DEATH

Ironically, I'm talking about a message about legal drugs.

I am by no means against medications, modern medicine, etc. I'm not some kind of nutty Scientologist or anti-vaccination type, by any stretch of the imagination.
I use prescription medication myself, and I consider it a lifesaver... literally and figuratively.
And I think many medications have had a positive impact on many humans. Not to mention on many animals.

However, I find the whole pharmaceutical television commercial thing somehow very unsettling.

I had the television on the other day while I was washing dishes in the kitchen, so I didn't see the commercial, and I didn't even hear the whole thing. I don't even know what drug this commercial was advertising.*
But the part I did hear was the mandatory side-effects being disclosed, and though none of the rest of the commercial caught my attention, one of the side-effects mentioned certainly did.

They said, "May cause death."

I told my mother about it. And a few days later she told me that while she was doing something in another room, my step-father saw the same or similar commercial, and called her in to tell her about it. So I'm not the only one to notice the peculiarity of this commercial.

I know that they're required to mention the side-effects. But I just think, with a side-effect like that, why advertise at all?
It seems to me with a side-effect like DEATH, it kind of defeats the purpose of the commercial.

Another thing I've noticed is that in the pharmaceutical commercials, they don't even say "doctor" anymore. As in, "Ask your doctor." They simply tell you to go get it from "your provider". "Provider" sounds an awful lot like dealer to me.
It's like they've basically reduced doctors to the mere role of dispensing their products. It gives me the impression that they want doctors to just be their storefront.
Makes me wonder if eventually they're going to push so that doctors aren't even necessary.
The only reason they might like to keep the dealers with medical licenses in the loop, is because they're useful to the pharmaceutical companies as at least a mere failsafe barrier so that the pharmaceutical company isn't responsible for keeping their drug from being taken by someone it would most definitely effect badly or kill.

"Hey, we told you it may cause death!"

posted by Chloe | Sunday 01 July 2007 3:33 PM



Yep, they've got the doctors as pushers. But these commercials are aimed at "Pullers" - the people who see the commercials and only hear the good points, and then run off to their dealers and, like a cat with Meow Mix, ask for it by name. A while ago there was a legal limbo that existed where the phamaceutical manufacturers were not allowed to describe their medications or make any claims regarding them. Those were the days that consisted of commercials that simply said "Prilosec. Have you asked your doctor about Prilosec? Maybe you should." Those days are gone, but now we have the full disclosure of side effects. It seems like all that advertising money could be better spent. On the other hand, it keeps the folks in the advertising industry employed. Jeananne Garafolo used to do a bit about the side effects of anxiety disorder medication. "'May cause hives, flatulence, vomiting, explosive diarrhea'...hey, with all those side effects, wouldn't you be better off staying at home by yourself?"
Posted by
Harold | Monday 02 July 2007 1:01PM


Well, my mother thinks the drug was Avandia:

Glaxo's Avandia stirs debate at diabetes meeting: Scientific American
The GlaxoSmithKline Plc drug has been under a cloud since an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month found taking Avandia led to a 43 percent boost in heart attack risk and a 64 percent rise in risk of heart death.

Not to mention the deaths from liver failure.

When I first heard this "May cause death"... The word that got my attention was death. But now it seems to me that the word "may" was kind of an understatement. It sounds to me like the odds for death are better than flipping a coin.
My mother said she'd make a bet based on 64% odds. Not that my mother's a gambler though, particularly not a successful one, considering what I saw of her in the Native American casino during my visit in May. haha.
But the fact remains, I don't like those odds.

Posted by Chloe | Wednesday 04 July 2007 9:16PM


I heard the Celebrex commercial now has the warning "May cause death" or something like it. But then they later reiterate that Celebrex "has never been taken off the market"... the innuendo being - unlike Vioxx.
Posted by Chloe | Thursday 01 May 2008 4:26PM


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