Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Medicine and Marketing

Where Have I Been?
Originally uploaded by EliCubs
So, I've been sick for the last several days. It's just a head cold, but still not a lot of fun. When I first started showing symptoms, I overloaded on Zinc lozenges and that managed to keep me from getting a sore throat. At first I was thrilled, but I didn't realize just how miserable congestion can make someone.

I started taking decongestants. Now, Sudafed has always worked for me. But anything containing pseudophedrine has to be purchased from behind the pharmacy counter because it apparently can be used to make meth. When I bought my medicine on Saturday at Walgreen's, the pharmacist was not in and I had to buy the Sudafed PE, which is phenylepherine instead of pseudophedrine. Which brings me to my point (yes, I have a point).

Sudafed has been marketing this as their "New Formula." "New," in the marketing sense, implies "improved." Neither is actually true. Phenylepherine was the decongestant of choice before pseudophedrine was developed. It was developed because phenylephrine doesn't work. At all. I would have had better results taking sugar pills. It's not a new formula, it's a step backwards. But, rather than force people to buy stuff that works with slightly more hassle, they release a product that doesn't cure them but is easier to get to. That's the point- Drug companies don't want to make you better, they want to make you poorer.

As of right now, only the United States and New Zealand (or maybe it's Australia, I don't remember) allow drug advertisements on television. Soon, it will only be us. As a result, we seem to have non-stop commercials for medicine that cures diseases we don't have. Restless Leg Syndrome may be real, but does it really need a cure? We sit and watch ads that manage to convince us we have diseases so we will go to our doctors and beg for prescriptions. And it's working. The drug companies can charge whatever they want for these pills because they know hypochondriacs will buy them.

I don't know what the solution is, but health care is becoming unaffordable because we're wasting money on over-medicating. Is it really good to have this many chemicals in our bodies? All I know is if I DO have Frisbee Lip, Irritable Ring Finger, Chicken Sandwich Pancreas, or the Knee Cap Heebie Jeebies, I can live with it.

Now, if they have a pill for Crumbling Nostril Syndrome...that's another matter. Side effects include sleepiness, nausea, rectal bleeding, urinary seepage, and, in about 10% of all cases, death. Please consult your doctor.

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