Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pharmaceutical propaganda

The United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals. Most countries banned the practice in the 1940s.

About $235 billion is spent on prescription drugs annually and almost $5 billion in DTC TV, radio, magazine and newspaper advertising.

There are, however, strict rules for how to advertise prescription drugs, especially on television. Advertisers have to list what the drug treats, its side effects and how to obtain it. But these requirements weigh down the commercial and leave very little room for crafting a story or creating a memorable experience for the viewer.

Hence, illogical cartoon shit and lengthy side-effect diatribes. Note two things about the following image:
  1. The doctor is showing a video presentation of the same doctor talking about Abilify
  2. The anthropomorphized depression umbrella is diligently taking notes

"Call your doctor if your depression worsens, or if you have unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. Elderly dementia patients taking Abilify have an increased chance of death or stroke. Call your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles and confusion - to address a possible life-threatening condition - or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements, as these could become permanent. High blood sugar has been reported with Abilify and medicines like it, and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death. Other risks [there's more?] include increased cholesterol, weight gain, decreases in white blood cells - which can be serious - dizziness while standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgement or motor skills."
Ask your doctor if Abilify is right for you. Yeeeee. This ad gets it right:

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