During a recession, some companies buck the trend. For example, shoe repair stores and the makers of Spam have seen sales soar. Macdonalds and Wal-Mart are experiencing an influx of customers. All the trouble that people are having coping means the drug companies will probably do okay as well. In fact, more than just okay. They’ll likely add to their already large storehouses of wealth.
Are the drug companies regulated? Yes. For example, they have to issue disclaimers with some of their products. But I suspect that just means they have someone in the backroom of their advertising department who is having a blast writing the scariest copy he or she can come up with for use on television. The flow of helpful information is usually something like the following.
Use of “floxieanzetadrine” − my pseudonym for any of a variety of miracle drugs − may cause such common side effects as unstoppable diarrhea, the dry heaves, shingles and scurvy, temporary or permanent blindness and convulsions leading to a coma. Rarely, with prolonged use, other side effects may occur such as limited bladder control, loss of feeling at the extremities and festering boils.
Yes, this exaggerates somewhat, but not by much. These disclaimers are usually read at high speed by an announcer who has obviously graduated from the Baccalaureate School for Auctioneers. It is not clear whether he is trying to keep us completely informed or hoping some of the symptoms will simply escape notice. More than once, I’ve turned to my wife and asked, “Did he just say spontaneous combustion?”
Of course, if you develop any of the side effects enumerated, there are other drugs to take care of those problems. But those pills may have side effects that exacerbate the debilitating symptoms that caused you to take “floxie” in the first place. Just up the dosage and repeat the cycle until you drop.
The drug ads are at their most common during the dinner-time television news shows. That’s also when we get calls at our home from telemarketers and survey firms. I’d like to see some survey results on how many people are adversely affected by the drug ads.
This combination of factors − drug ads and telemarketers at dinner time − may be affecting my health. I’m reluctant to admit it, but lately I’ve been experiencing a nervous stomach. Furthermore, I just know this has the potential to turn into projectile vomiting, without the right medicine.
Then, of course, to get the drugs, you have to go to the doctor for a prescription. That reminds me of a story a pharmaceutically-connected friend of mine swears is true. A woman went into a drug store and asked the professional behind the counter for arsenic so that she could kill her husband.
He said, “Are you crazy lady? I can’t sell you poison over the counter for something like that.”
Then she showed him a photograph of her husband fooling around with the pharmacist’s wife.
“Well now, that’s different,” said the pharmacist. “You didn’t tell me you had a prescription.”