I don’t watch much TV, but when I do I can’t escape those fucking direct-to-consumer drug commercials.
I really don’t get it. Big pharmaceutical companies are spending more than $4 billion annually promoting products to people who can’t buy them. You need a fucking prescription to buy this shit! And who writes prescriptions? Doctors do! And surely doctors don’t decide what to prescribe based on TV ads. Do they? Please tell me they don’t!
So the theory is that advertising will cause people who have medical problems (or think they do) to ask their doctors for the drugs they see advertised on TV, and that will cause doctors to prescribe more of the advertised drugs. It must work, because if it didn’t, Big Pharma wouldn’t continue spending so much fucking money on those ass-sucking ads. And that’s pretty scary.
What’s particularly insane is that the advertising has been successful despite the fact that the ads spend more time warning you about all the disgusting side effects of the products than they do explaining the supposed benefits. Shit, even if I were tempted to believe the puffery that the drug companies spout about their wares, I wouldn’t touch ’em with a ten-foot pole after hearing the litany of warnings — but that obviously isn’t holding most people back.
The whole phenomenon just seems twisted and grotesque. But I’ve thought of one way to entertain myself when I’m stuck watching one of those ads: I imagine the drug names are the names of extreme metal bands, and I think about what kind of music they play — and what kind of side-effect warnings would appear on the CDs. Here are a few examples (after the jump . . .):