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The Direct-to-Consumer Contagion


Skyler
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I found the following article to be of interest because it's pretty comprehensive, and the news seems to be getting around? Well, one can hope... The great American medicine show, a spectacle of deceit, manipulation, and flimflammery.

 

....

"All's right with the world," is the message... as long as you've taken your dosages of Lunesta, Celebrex, Cialis, and Botox.

 

Welcome to medicated America, where the fix for every problem--from incontinence to erectile dysfunction, stiff joints to mood swings, weight gain to wrinkles-- is just a prescription away. Thus the beautiful images, stirring music, attractive actors, and soothing words in the omnipresent, multibillion-dollar kaleidoscope of drug advertising by Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, and other giants of Big Pharma--all pitching their particular brand-name nostrum directly at us hoi polloi (the industry spends a fourth of its income on ads and other promotions, nearly double its expenditures on research and development). The corporate come-ons typically conclude with a phrase that has achieved cliche status in America's vernacular: "Ask your doctor if 'Suprema Wundercure' is right for you."

 

The better question, though, is one that cartoonist Dan Piraro expressed in one of his "Bizarro" panels: "Ask your doctor if playing into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry is right for you."

 

One would assume that in a rich, medically advanced, health-conscious nation like ours, dicey decisions about whether to allow a particular pharmaceutical product into our bodies would be among the most rational we make--as determined by (1) the best science available, (2) the strict moral duty of medical purveyors to "First, do no harm," (3) good government regulation, and (4) the profession's fear of public reproach and legal punishment. One would, however, be wrong on all counts:

 

Science has been supplanted by rank hucksterism

The strictest "moral duty" of corporate executives has been reduced to maximizing profits

A "good" regulation is one that's good for profit seekers

Public reproach is just a momentary embarrassment to be covered over by corporate image makers

Legal "punishment" never includes jail time, but only a fine that's easily absorbed as a necessary cost of doing business by these immensely profitable entities.

In the past three decades, America's healthcare system has radically metamorphosed from a public service network (largely run by independent physicians and nonprofit hospitals) into a corporate profit machine--one that Dr. Arnold Relman, the renowned former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, calls the Medical-Industrial Complex. Drugmakers have been among the most ambitious, in-your-face pushers of this transmutation of medicine into just another commodity to be sold by hook or crook. In this system, the concept of "care" has been reduced to "caveat emptor," with the shareholders' interest in monetary gain overriding all other interests.

 

The DTC contagion

 

A fast-moving, systemic epidemic called DTC has swept across America, endangering public health, jacking up our costs, and weakening the curative connection between health professionals and patients. DTC stands for "Direct-to-Consumer" drug advertising. It's a plague of marketing, empowering profiteering corporations to short-circuit the judgment of doctors by using all of the tricks of Madison Avenue (including lies) to convince viewers and readers that (first) they're suffering from a particular malady, (second) the advertiser's brand-name medicine is the very best cure, and (finally) they must go to their doctors pronto to insist on getting a prescription for that specific drug. The essence of this marketing scheme is to turn consumers into sales representatives for drug peddlers. Brilliant.

...

Prescribing medicine through the television, radio, print, and internet ads of corporations (whose sole motive is to sell more pills) is so crass, so awash in conflicts of interest, and so inherently dangerous that only two countrieshave ever legalized it: New Zealand in 1981 and the USA in 1997.

 

In our country, the corporate-friendly government of Ronald Reagan first okayed DTC drug ads in 1985, but his Food and Drug Administration ruled that pages-long consumer warnings about health risks had to be included, so there were few takers. Then came Bill Clinton's corporate-friendly government, which issued a revised FDA rule in 1997 allowing drugmakers to dodge the full disclosure provision--as long as their ads met an "adequate" standard for informing consumers about risks.

 

Such squishy words (slipped into regulations by industry lobbyists) are a corporate wet dream. Thanks to the adequacy loophole, fluffy-puffy, no-worries prescription drug ads quickly mushroomed. In 1997, spending on DTC ads was only $220 million; by 2002, it was $2.8 billion; and it has kept a steady pace of roughly $3 billion a year ever since.

 

Corporations don't spend that kind of money to dramatize the severity of their products' nasty side effects. As two ad execs giddily put it in a 1998 report to the industry, "The ultimate goal of DTC advertising is to stimulate consumers to ask their doctors about the advertised drug and then, hopefully, get the prescription." Obviously, to "get the prescription," corporate ads don't stress such unpleasant outcomes as these (taken from the small print of full-page ads for just a half dozen heavily advertised drugs): very high fevers, confusion, uncontrollable bowel movements, trouble swallowing, lower sperm count, prostate cancer, loss of vision, suicidal thoughts... and, of course, death.

Edited by Altostrata
added ellipses to indicate edit

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Thanks, Schuyler. Another one for my collection.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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