To those of us who spend too much time in front of the boob tube, have you ever noticed how many commercials are promoting health care products? I guess all the healthy people who aren't constipated or don't suffer from the heartbreak of psoriasis or itchy athlete's foot are out enjoying life.
However, there's one thing I just don't get. Whom are the prescription drug ads targeting? Let's say you have high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, acid reflux or many of the other ailments for which you'd seek medical help. So you go to a physician who examines you and orders several very expensive and intrusive laboratory tests. He puts you on a treatment plan and tells you to return in 2 weeks.
One day you're sitting on your couch doubled over clutching onto your heart and gasping for breath after watching a rerun of I Love Lucy. During the commercial break, an actor is playing with his dog and tells you that a drug changed his life. So do you call up your doctor and say “Guess what, Dr. Ripmeoff? I think those pills you gave me aren't doing the job. This guy on TV told me to get Pound-Away.” What would his response be? “Well, shoot. I probably missed that one. What channel? I've got to get cable one of these days. I'll call the pharmacy right way.”
Even if you saw the ad before seeking medical attention, how confident would you feel if you needed to suggest a prescription drug to a doctor in whom you are trusting your very existence? Was he playing golf the day they taught Atrial Fibrillation 101? “Gee, I never even heard of that one. Let me turn on Channel 7 and see if I can get a little more information about about the side effects.”
That's another thing I don't understand. After the pretty ad showing people dancing on top of a mountain, the announcer lists all of the side effects from the drug. Now, let's say you have liver disease and your doctor has been prescribing this drug, would you call him/her immediately and say “the guy on TV says I shouldn't take Fartnomore for my Irritable Bowel if I have a liver problem.”
One of the most common prescriptions advertised is for “E.D.” I realize that's an acronym for erectile dysfunction, but I have to wonder if, since it's on television, someone wasn't thinking of “Mr. Ed” when first coming up with the catchy name. There is one Viagra ad that is way too unrealistic. A man is watching a baseball game. He sees the hitter slamming the ball high into left field and his wife gives him a nod to say “I want you.” So he pops a tape into the VCR and heads to the bedroom. Get real! I mean, these 2 people live together and during the very moment the home team might get a grand slam she gets horny and he jumps? This ad isn't about impotence, it's about a wife who is a control freak. He doesn't need Viagra, he needs a set of balls.
Well it's time to head out for dinner. I just hope if, God forbid, I get sick on some bad fish or contaminated spinach and am rushed to the hospital tonight, everyone in the ER has been tuning into the latest commercials.