Friday, January 22, 2010

Revisiting a Keeper: "Ask Your Doctor if Your Pharmaceutical Company is Right for You"

Jon Reed notes: to commemorate the latest health care debate flareup, here's a slightly edited keeper from my older "rantblog" archives.

Ask Your Doctor if Your Pharmaceutical Company is Right For You

Is your life all it could be? Are you sleeping only seven and a half hours when you'd love to make eight? Are you a man with a "weak stream" that has to piss more often than you'd like?

How would you like to take care of these little problems in exchange for unknown long term consequences and a few slightly inconvenient side effects like delirium, nausea, and mild diarrhea?

If that sounds good, all you have to do is follow these helpful instructions: the next time your doctor invites you over for iced tea on the veranda, the two of you can casually review the various drugs available that might allow you to alleviate the nagging angst of modern life.

It's the most common line in commercials today: "Ask Your Doctor if 'Wonderpill' is Right for You." Is there anything more infuriating than this casual assumption - the absurd premise that the average American has the kind of sit-down relationship with their doctor where they can casually chat about the designer drugs now available?

I have a better health care plan than most, and if I called my doctor to ask him if TechnoDrug was right for me, he'd start by asking, "What did you say your name was again?" And if I do get in to see him, there's generally a more pressing problem to talk about than whether I want to trade weak streams for wet dreams.

It's a Brave New Pharmaceutical World, where the "haves" are busy pestering their doctors about why their erections last six hours, while the rest of America sucks it up and tries to live with problems that will deteriorate if they don't get access to care they can't afford.

I think we've seen enough clip art models smiling through television sets as they pantomime a superior lifestyle granted to them by a fantasy drug that they only obtained through an equally fantastic doctor, the likes of which we've never met in real life, even while pharmaceutical companies frantically attempt to script it otherwise.