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The TV Drug Game - by David Smith
Although I believe that medical check-ups are the main cause of disease, I recently went in for a check-up myself.  The doctor wondered why I was in such good shape.  I explained it was because I never took any legal drugs, either over-the-counter or prescription.  I simply took my daily dose of clay…

With a perplexed look on his face and an eyebrow cocked higher than Jack Nicholson ever could, he replied in a drone monotone fashion, “Well, whatever works for you.”  After a brief unspoken pause he drew his face into a preemptive smile and asked with assured smugness, “Are you shitting little bricks as well?”  He-he-he…

As I said, I knew what I was in for and received the comment without the need to verbally strike back.  And I really don’t blame the doctors as a whole for what the Pharmaceutical Industry has turned them into.  It’s the big Pharm companies who have sold all of us a bill of goods and the doctors themselves are but players in the board game of health care.  What is important for each of us to know is the rules of the game and to stay on top of the rule changes as they occur…  That’s the tough part of the game because according to rule Number 340, Section B1, subsection 5, paragraph 2, it states in part, “All rules are made by the Pharmaceutical Companies as a conspiratorial whole, and rules may be changed at any time, at their discretion, and without notice to other players.”  So, as you can see, even finding out what the rules are can be a challenge in itself.

One recent rule change is that the Pharm Companies can now advertise their wares directly to other players, circumventing the doctors entirely, asking then that the other players go tell their doctors that they want so-and-so drug to cure what ails them.  Wow – what a coup in the rules game itself.  Now that they have cut out the middle man, they simply have only to hire a slick ad agency and sell us on their latest and greatest while sitting in the comfort of our own homes with our feet up between the segments of American Idol…  Whoever wrote that rule change deserves an Emmy!

So, I got to thinking about the new game we were now playing and did some research…  Pharm companies, in 2004, spend 3.4 billion on TV commercials for prescription drugs.  By comparison, beer companies spend a paltry 1.1 billion.  Did you know that marketing prescription drugs directly to consumers is permitted on in the great USofA?  The game is played by asking the viewer of the ad to “Ask your doctor about such and such…”   This new rule has been so effective that Prevention magazine recently reported that doctors reported that 84% of all prescriptions they wrote were at the direct request of the patient.  The report also stated that in 2004 over 85 million patients asked their doctors specifically about drugs they had seen advertised on TV!

As for me, I plan to come back to my good ole doc in about another year with a whole list of prescription drugs that TV commercials have asked me to ask my doctor about.  My two favorites are Pravachol, which promises to prevent your first and second heart attacks, so that when you get your first heart attack you’ll really think it’s your third, and Prylosec whose claim is to cure acid reflux (also the most prescribed drug in the US) is tempered by it’s laundry list of side effects, including death.  I think I would opt for death over some others on the list such as anal seepage, decreased liver function, stroke, insomnia and vaginal dryness.  I wonder if you could get all those at once?...  Now there’s a choice for me to make personally, in stead of a doctor…  I guess 12 years of Med school is to turn regular thinking folks into robots for the Pharm companies.  Seems like a long time for a relatively easy transformation.

So, as you can imagine, I’m choosing to stick with old faithful – Clay -  once a day just like the doctor would have ordered if we would have had the $20 million necessary to create the ads and market what works for everyone, every time…  Problem is that there are  no side effects to advertise, unless you consider those little bricks I shit every morning…  Actually I plan on building a house some day and they just might come in handy – a Brick Shit House – just couldn’t resist…


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