Thursday, February 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Who is doing the prescribing these days — doctors or patients?

By
July 8, 2011 |

After mulling over the “logic” behind our medical marijuana laws recently, it was serendipitous that one night last week, I didn’t set my DVR correctly and was subjected to television commercials during the evening news.

Normally, I leave the DVR on NBC and hit “rewind’ to the beginning of the news, and fast-forward through the commercials. There’s nothing I want to watch badly enough on TV to sit through commercial breaks, and thanks to my beloved DVR, I don’t have to.

On this particular day, I was exhausted, plopped onto the recliner to watch the news, discovered the TV on the wrong channel, and frankly, it was just too much effort to hit “pause” and go do something else while some commercial cushion built up. I decided to just endure the commercials.

Rather than getting annoyed, I viewed it as an opportunity to glimpse into middle America’s television experience … see what sort of manure is being pumped into our collective American subconscious these days.

I expected a montage of fast food and fast cars, dish soap and laundry soap, diapers for young and old, but what I discovered was far more insidious. So insidious that I was reenergized, and leapt from my comfy recliner and started taking notes.

Here’s what was being peddled to America during one 30-minute show:
* Pradaxa, for irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).
* Restasis, for chronically dry eyes.
* Enbrel, for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
* Cialis, for erectile dysfunction.
* Plavix, to prevent blood clots that cause heart attack or stroke.

So what, you say. Why shouldn’t drug companies advertise their products. I’ll tell you why. Because Average Joe or Jane American doesn’t know diddly-squat about biochemistry. Ninety-eight percent of the population doesn’t have the educational depth or breadth to understand what these drugs do to the human body, and the two percent that does has “M.D.” after their names. And that two percent doesn’t get its medical information from commercials.

The average person can’t purchase these medications without a prescription. Period. These products are being pitched to consumers who can’t actually consume them. At top dollar during the evening news on a major network, no less.

Why.

Why target an audience that can’t actually purchase your product. There’s only one logical answer: because it’s working.

Every commercial recommends talking to your doctor about taking these drugs. Excuse me? Talk to my doctor about taking this or that medication? I don’t want to talk to my doctor about medications, I want my doctor to talk to ME about medications! I expect her to be fluent on medications and what they might do for me, and to me, not vice-versa.

What sort of bizarro alternative universe have we stumbled into, where patients are educating their doctors about medications? I’m horrified to consider that doctors are actually being persuaded by their patients to prescribe some really heavy-duty drugs. But clearly they are. Or the drug ads wouldn’t exist. Companies don’t throw millions of dollars into advertising unless it’s paying off.

Beyond the lunacy of promoting the idea that patients must educate their doctors about medication, the ads invariably end with a high-speed summary of all the medical contraindications for taking the drug (as if your doctor has no clue about your medical history or the drugs you’re already taking) as well as the potential side effects, ranging in severity from blurred vision to cardiac arrest. Some of the side effects are worse than the condition for which the drugs are prescribed.

Consider Enbrel: “Serious infections have happened in patients taking Enbrel. These infections include tuberculosis and infections cause by viruses, fungi or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some patients have died from these infections. Patients treated with Enbrel also may be at risk for other serious side effects including nervous system problems, such as multiple sclerosis, seizures, or inflammation of the nerves of the eyes; rare reports of serious blood problems (some fatal); heart failure, including new heart failure or worsening of heart failure you already have; new or worsening psoriasis; allergic reactions; immune reactions, including a lupus-like syndrome, lymphoma and other cancers.”

Not only can Enbrel cause these diseases, it can actually worsen the condition for which it’s been prescribed! I’d rather have full-body arthritis than roll the dice with this poison.

But, the ad features a friendly-looking golfer (People! He’s an actor!) who can now hit the links, thanks to this drug. And that’s what we remember, and that’s why we ask for the drug, and … that’s why doctors prescribe it? Really? Because patients want it? Where are doctors getting their medical degrees these days? Bizarro U?

To bring this full circle, in the mainstream medical industry, trying medical marijuana for my developing arthritis is out of the question. But taking Enbrel (particularly if I advise my doctor that this is what I need, based on my extensive medical background) is perfectly legitimate; it’s far easier to get a drug that could cause a cornucopia of horrific diseases than an alternative “drug” that doesn’t.

Why.

Ka-ching, that’s why. Big Pharma doesn’t make any money off backyard pot, and selling drugs is big business, whether on a dark alley or at the pharmacy. But drug makers need dealers. In the case of Big Pharma, the pusher clearly has M.D. after his/her name. Which ultimately makes no sense, because doctors don’t profit from drug sales. So why are they complicit?

Why?

— Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at http://www.edebra.com and http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find Debra’s columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.us

Comments

comments

Debra DeAngelo

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Hope succumbs to despair as missing baby’s body found

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Dodd pushes for help on water rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Ag secretary: Smartphones could tell what’s in food

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Child support is key to fighting poverty

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Gas drags consumer prices down 0.7%

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Ukraine will start pulling back heavy weapons

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Davis Baha’is celebrate Festival of Ayyam-i-Ha

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    USDA grants will combat citrus greening disease

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Breakfast with the Bunny tickets go on sale soon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Suit Up for Success program needs clothing donations

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

    We All Have a Heritage program kicks off

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fourth of July concessionaires solicited

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Dillard, McNamara appointed to state ag board

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI meets for potluck, discussion on March 4

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Purim Carnival celebrates freedom with fun

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Davis Media Access: Updates from D.C. and closer to home

    By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A5

     
    UCD Center for Pain Medicine receives highest recognition

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    UC Davis students join international campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Wolk to chair Senate wine committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The Keystone veto: You want jobs? Try this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A single vote really does count

    By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

     
    Anything goes? Not really

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Headlights on, please!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Lady Devils are truly a team

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    New couple needs boundaries

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS girls host another playoff matchup Thursday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Tired Aggies drop homestand finale, 4-2

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Familiar face leads Davis badminton into new era

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD basketball teams enter pressure-packed final 2 weeks

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS golfers seek to repeat past success in new Delta League

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: Davis rugby girls play Clayton Valley tough

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Kings grind it out against Grizzlies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Features

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    College Corner: Is there such a thing as BOGO?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

    Eastham takes top spot in photo contest

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Da Vinci students bring on the Roaring ’20s

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Name Droppers: Sperling gets leadership position

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Citrus in your garden and in the news

    By Don Shor | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    ‘Dia de los Cuentos’ a delight for young viewers, and old

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    DMTC announces ‘Wizard of Oz’ auditions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    LaBute discusses his adaptation of Buchner’s ‘Woyzeck’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Free Range singers open season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Gallery hosts fundraiser Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    The Blue Mango show reception set for Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Sundays at I-House season kicks off with two popular bands

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    American Bach Soloists revisit monumental St. Matthew Passion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Camp Shakespeare 2015 planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Robert Hugh McWherter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Vernon E. Burton

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, February 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8