March 1, 2008

hold on to your hat

in the u.s. alone, drug companies spend about $5 billion on drug ads aimed at consumers. like the snake-oil barkers of old, drug companies are weaving tales and drawing in customers. if you take a moment to really think about what they're selling or if you listen to the long list of side-effects that are spoken rapidly and in a hushed tone near the end of the ad, you might start to question the line they're selling. but people are being swayed and millions of dollars are being spent on drugs that are heavily advertised.

i don't know how effective government investigations are, but a u.s. congressional committee is investigating ads for lipitor (and others). lipitor is the best-selling drug in america. the ad for this anti-cholesterol drug features artificial heart "inventor" dr.robert jarvik. not only does jarvik not have a license to practice medicine, he isn't even a cardiologist. the ad even includes the use of a stunt double to show dr. jarvik sculling across a lake! jarvik is not a rower. oh, and he didn't actually invent the artificial heart. because of government scrutiny of the jarvik ads, pfizer has just announced it will drop the multi-million dollar campaign saying they didn't mean to mislead the public. yeah, right. they'll think of something new and exciting soon enough.

i don't know that anything will keep big pharma honest, what with their billions of dollars, their lobbyists and their bribing of doctors. we just have to keep questioning and not fall under their spell.

it wouldn't be a chronic holiday post if we couldn't laugh at this, right? to wit, i give you the crew at saturday night live, who recently did a spoof of a tv ad for birth control. the fake ad uses similar pill packaging, actors and scenarios depicted in the real ad for the pill "seasonale."


Katrin said...

LOL!!! (not at lipitor but at SNL)

Donimo said...

They did a great job on this skit. Nothing like satire to show you how ridiculous reality is!

gary c. said...

OMG, the pharmaceutical companies are so out of control. I hadn't heard about the Pfizer case. Thanks for the links. I like how you're putting in the absurdities found in the medical industry. This is a smart blog.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!