The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Drug ads turning patient into doctor

Viewpoint by Keisha McDuffie/design assistant

Living in an era that excuses, excuse me, diagnoses everything from attention disorders to erectile dysfunction with an acronym, one should only expect an appropriate antidote.

However, commercials advertising the latest treatment, for the latest acronym, continue to strike a nerve in me.

Any product that allots 30 seconds for its disclaimer disturbs me. And it really takes the cake when a big-shot pharmaceutical company pays an anonymous narrator to casually deliver the side effects of its latest quick fix.

The narrator’s monotone, slightly soothing and barely noticeable voice informs viewers there are a few “rare” cases resulting in blindness (but rarely permanent), mild brain damage and paralysis.

And millions of consumers are too mesmerized by the water aerobics, picnics and paid smiles to notice this mild voice in the background.

What they did remember was the actor’s one line: “Ask your doctor if drug X is right for you.”

And, apparently, millions of doctors concurred, prescribing just what the patient said he or she needed. Who’s the patient and who’s the doctor here?

Greed seems to have impaired many of these doctors’ judgments.

What doctors wouldn’t want Big Pharma on their side?

For instance, after selling more than a million prescriptions a week, studies show that Vioxx may have caused more than 160,000 heart attacks.

What? How could this arthritis pill with a “real life” doctor endorsing it do such an awful thing?

The U.S. is a nation that takes any slight discomfort and proudly numbs it. Sure, I’ve been guilty of swigging an extra gulp of Nyquil every now and then, but I refuse to have a doctor prescribe a pill for my restless legs or my lack of attention in Algebra—only for it to cause seizures, tics or a dependency somewhere down the road.

The brains behind these commercials know just where to hit us and do.

So it’s up to you, the consumer, to refuse to feed into the bull of the million dollar corporations and refuse to pop a pill to mask the real issue.

Take a stroll in the evening instead of turning on the tube* and by-pass all of the commercials that seem to know you so well. Decide to be a better, more alert, in-control you.

*Caution: Could result in better blood flow, stronger muscles and an all-around better feeling!

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