Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Side effects may include dry mouth, nausea and seizures...

....but what price 'feeling like myself again'?

In the US, if you sit and watch TV for an hour, you'll probably see at least three ads for prescription drugs. They usually start by suggesting you're terribly ill with some rather broad symptoms. For example, 'Feeling anxious and tense?' (Well yes, I think, I'm waiting for the judging on America's Next Top Model, of course I'm anxious!). Or 'Is tiredness holding you back?' (Indeed, that's the reason I've been lying on the sofa eating chips and salsa for the last hour... it isn't laziness at all...).

The ads baffle me for two reasons:
1. 'Ask your Doctor if it's right for you'. I can't imagine going to my slightly abrupt, average-of-12-minutes-per-consultation GP, and asking for a drug I like the look of. The NHS aren't really into self-diagnosis, and because you're not paying the Doctor for their services, they don't have to be polite about it either.

2. The side effects. I mean does anyone really see an ad for something which 'may cause bleeding, heart attacks or death' and think 'Oooh, I want some of that'?

For the benefits of my British readers, here are some examples pulled from YouTube.

Here's an ad about a drug which causes dry mouth, nausea and seizures but left this nice lady 'feeling like myself again'. Presumably she was a thirsty, fitting puker in her former life.

This ad turns the usual formula (sell hard, then warn of sideeffects) on its head. Instead it goes into lots of detail on side-effects, and then sells the drug - 'celebrex has never been taken off the market!' it trumpets. Seriously, that's the selling point.

We're going with Hulu Plus and Apple TV all the way in Rabbit Hutch Towers, so all those moving suggestions of illness and cures are a diversion I now miss. I feel better already!

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