Do Big Pharma TV ads make you sick?

Bob Hill of the Louisville Courier-Journal describes New Year’s Day in front of his television set:

Here comes Dr. Robert Jarvik … selling Lipitor to lower your cholesterol. The guy looks good. I’m with him all the way, even through the disclaimer part that suggests Lipitor should not be used if you have liver problems, are pregnant or want to become pregnant, drive a 1997 Honda, know a bartender named “Lefty” or ever wanted to become a field-goal kicker for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The ad also strongly suggests you ask your doctor for more information. I’m thinking: “Hey, Jarvik is a doctor. How much is he getting paid to push this drug — and what’s up with all that?

Anyway, I am still feeling fine and watching more football and here comes a commercial for Levitra, a product that among other things warns men of the terrible dangers of a four-hour erection…

I do a little more online research, and the Levitra disclaimer also warns use of the product could result in a sudden decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes, headaches, flushing and stuffy or runny nose — side effects which, in truth, a lot of guys might consider a small price to pay…

As the TV stations move into the evening news — which always carry a plague of medical ads — I get info on Plavix (fights blood clots) and Flomax (if you have to ask you don’t want to know).

By then I’m feeling even more depressed about the doctor-drug company connections. Virtually all the ads suggest the patient talk to the doctor about the cures.

I’d always thought once you put up the $20 to $40 co-pay it was supposed to work the other way around.

All eDrugSearch pharmacies require original prescriptions from your doctor — which they confirm — before filling your online order. We also encourage you to ask your doctor what medication or treatment is best for you, rather than to start the discussion by bringing up an ad you saw on TV.

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