Monday, August 15, 2011

May Cause Death

Okay, I have a question. Why on earth do pharmaceutical companies advertise their prescription meds to normal/non-medical people? I mean “hello,” it’s not as if I can go to the store and buy them. What do they want from me? Am I supposed to go to the doctor and whine, “I want the new uber-high-potency-give-me-perfect-health medicine”? Isn’t the reason I pay my doctor big bucks because he/she is supposed to know what medication is correct for whatever’s wrong with me?

I suspect the pharmaceutical company wants me to whine at my doctor. Instead of the generic meds, which are cheap, they need to sell their new, weird variation, which doesn’t have a generic, so they want me to want it. But I don’t care. In fact, the ads irritate me. After all, who’s paying for those ads? The consumer!!

And doctors have no idea what the new meds cost (BTW, not all pharmacies charge the same price for the same medicine) or which insurance company covers which drug. When Jake’s doctor prescribed a medication, the cost was $250. Chad, our favorite pharmacist tech, said, “Uh, just so you know, you could get over the counter med A for $6 and prescription med B, which is $8, and if you take them together, they do the same thing at the same strength as the $250 medication.”I called Jake’s doctor, and she gave us a prescription for med B. She also apologized—she had no idea that the medicine she first prescribed was so ridiculously expensive. $250 instead of $14. No wonder health care costs are ludicrous.

And here’s another thing; when they advertise their drug, they’re required to list the side effects. But listing the side effects does NOT make me want to buy the new-uber-high-potency-give-me-perfect-health drug. I mean, thirst and sore-throat are one thing. But what about loss of sensation, heart attack, mood swings, weight gain, appendages falling off, and possession by the prince of darkness. Okay, I made up the last two. But death is usually listed as one of the side effects. Hmm. Doesn’t make me eager to try the new u-h-p-g-m-p-h drug. Let alone whine for it at the doctor’s office. Kind of counter-productive. But then, advertising has never been about logic.

N.B. My novel Screwing Up Time, is being featured this week on Ken Hoss's blog. Click here to visit Ken's "Indie Authors in the Spotlight" page.


  1. Never mind when we do all our whining to the doctor about said med, we get to foot the bill for him to explain why said med is not appropriate for our condition.

  2. You're right on all counts. The reason we see so many ads for medications is exactly because the companies want us, as consumers, to demand prescriptions from our doctors for those products. (My "fave" side effect is "anal leakage". I mean, EW!!! Like I'd SEEK that????)

  3. I've always wondered what the advertisements say about the viewership. When I watch the news on FOX all the medication commercials are for problems that typically appear later in life, such as cardiovascular deterioration, memory loss, arthritis, and rheumatism. Are all FOX viewers old people?

  4. Yes, they love direct to consumer marketing. I don't think they'd do it without knowing it definitely causes more sales. Docs definitely get asked about the newest latest drugs, but it seems balanced by the patients who hate taking any pills at all.

  5. Lydia- I'm sure you're right. The advertising must work or they wouldn't do it. I just don't understand why it works.

  6. Don't forget festering of the gizzards.