Most of the time I don’t even know what drug the pharmaceutical company is advertising. All I remember are the mind–boggling side effects.
A man and his dog leave his beachfront house. The man has a Frisbee. The dog runs ahead of him; leaping and twirling, he can’t wait to get to the beach. The man is talking to us; calm, happy, glad to be with his dog. He’s got some condition that he’s upfront and straightforward about. The condition is in Latin. He’s taking a prescription drug that relieves all the symptoms and makes him a very happy man. He’s not exactly swaggering, but it’s a confident walk. He’s just one happy middle-aged guy walking with spring in his step towards the warm beach. The condition is definitely not schwanz kaputt erectile dysfunction.
Then another nice male voice – not the guy walking confidently to the beach – comes on and in a deep calm voice tells you that you could die from the drug being advertised – nothing serious, no reason not to buy it – just maybe a sudden drop in blood pressure, stomach bleeding, difficulty swallowing. The audio is speeded up – a little at first then faster and faster. You are amazed that anyone can talk that fast and that distinctly, which they can’t. Faster and faster come the side effects. Chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, black, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. May cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events, convulsions, heart attack and stroke, which can be fatal; bleeding, ulceration and gastro-intestinal hemorrhages, perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. Some or all of these can cause death. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Death.
Then, as abruptly as when it started whizzing, the audio goes back to normal speed and the nice male voice urges you to get a prescription for it so you too can have a better life and throw a Frisbee on the beach with your dog without worrying about a condition with a Latin name.
How could anyone know that using it was going to make your mitochondrial DNA mutate? Or go partially blind? Never mind. Rush out and buy.
The advertising practices of drug companies are so outrageous that even David Kessler, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, says that television ads never should have been allowed by the FDA in the first place (the FDA legalized drug ads in late 1997, after Kessler left his position there). Today, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world to allow drug ads on television. Quite a distinction.