Friday, February 04, 2005

tell your doctor what to do!

I mentioned a few days ago that I had another reverse-cultureshock experience while home in Canada. I just did some research-well, spent one minute with google- and found that I am not alone.

While at home, I saw a handful of ads for prescription drugs. Each ad ended with something along the lines of, "Ask your doctor if XXXXXXX is right for you."I thought, this is crazy! Who am I to tell my doctor what drugs to prescribe? Did I spend years studying pharmacology? And, anyway, why would I want to suggest a relatively new, untested drug? Isn't that what apes are for? (Sorry to all my relatives- animal testing should only be a carefully considered final option after other avenues have run their course.)

From the Health Central website:

Heavy TV advertising helped make Vioxx so successful. Hundreds of millions were spent suggesting that this arthritis drug could make life more enjoyable. In early commercials, Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill was featured gliding over the ice in a picture-perfect mountain setting. The message: "Ask your doctor about Vioxx, a prescription medicine from Merck. And find out if Vioxx is right for you."

With 20/20 hindsight, experts are complaining that the direct-to-consumer advertising for Vioxx created unjustified enthusiasm. People badgered their doctors for a prescription for the drug instead of relying on over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc) or naproxen (Aleve). It turns out these inexpensive products may have been about as effective as Vioxx and a lot safer.

I guess, if you are in pain, any alternative could sound like a good one. Still, Vioxx didn't turn out to be such a good deal.

The article stated that only the US and New Zealand allow advertising for prescription drugs yet I saw them in Canada - on an American station however.

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