Why are pharmaceuticals advertised on television?
After all, you can't write the prescription: only your doctor can.
So what gives?
The drug companies are spending billions of dollars on a bet.
They are betting that your doctor is a wimp.
Your doctor, with years of medical school training, residency programs, and finally, the benefit of experience in practice.
Sadly, this paragon of the Hippocratic oath is no match for Madison Avenue.
Medicine X may be the perfect solution.
Or maybe the ailment calls for no drugs at all.
But then the patients head to the physician's office, zombie-like, repeating the mantra: Cymbalta, Cymbalta, Cymbalta.
What's a practitioner to do?
The lady in the examination room will not be happy unless she leaves with the Rx that the handsome actor described during a break in Jeopardy.
These commercials are extremely well produced.
So well produced that the ads create a national tension that can't be relieved unless the pills are released into the medicine cabinets of the masses.
Here's my problem.
Maybe Cymbalta isn't such a great prescription.
Maybe it's less effective and has more side effects than the inexpensive alternative.
I have seen the antidepressant pitches that conclude with this warning: suicide may occur.
Yes, it's true.
We Americans will beg for a little amber bottle containing pills that might make us kill ourselves.
Here's another neat trick.
Television advertising convinces us that we need medication for problems that we didn't even know we had.
Every now and then my legs bother me a little bit while I'm trying to fall asleep.
Thank goodness television recently made me aware of something called Restless Leg Syndrome.
And of course, it's obvious that I must consume some chemical concoction approved by the FDA to deal with something that the drug companies have converted from an annoyance into a medical condition.
Thank goodness for the GlaxoWellcome Corporation.
I might have stumbled through life without whatever my restless legs crave.
Ain't advertising beautiful?
I want doctors to be strong.
Stand up to me.
I don't know what I'm talking about.
Don't buckle under just because Pfizer spent a fortune to say hello during American Idol.
Help me get better with the pharmacy items that you think work best.
Even if that means no prescription at all.
After all, we have to pay for all those TV cameras.
Unfortunately, you may be paying for those cameras with your health.
Let your doctor decide.
Francis Ford Coppola is a great director.
But he knows nothing about your glucose level.
Rely on the trained expert who does.
That sometimes wimpy person who is your doctor.
Tell him or her to man-up and ignore what you saw on TV.
You'll feel better in the end.
Merck and Astrazeneca are great companies.
I just want them to focus more on making the pills and less on pushing them.