Monday, March 18, 2013

Taking This Medication Could Cause....

I like to listen to the disclaimers during drug advertisements on TV to hear the risks of taking a particular medication.  Most will go through a line of various ailments or conditions that can be brought on by taking the medication.  I particularly like the ones that say “Some deaths have been associated with taking this medication.”  That really instills confidence in the person who may be interested in taking it, right?

Last night I heard one that caught my attention.  I can’t remember which drug it is but the disclaimer is “If you experience mood changes, rage, depression or suicidal thoughts while taking or after stopping this medication consult your doctor.”  Great.  Not only can you experience these symptoms while taking the medication but you can also experience them after you stop taking it.  Maybe they should say “If you take this medication there is a chance you could experience side effects that last for the rest of your life.”

Several years ago companies were making diet pills and fat burners and various other weight loss supplements designed to block fat from foods from being absorbed into your body.  These were the ones that said you could “eat anything you want and still lose weight.”  I remember one of the disclaimers that said “This product may cause gas with oily discharge.”  In other words, this could cause you to fart and mess up your pants.  But you’ll lose weight.  Now who wouldn’t want to take that pill??!

I’m not sure what caused drug companies to start putting disclaimers in their commercials but I’m guessing it has something to do with a lawsuit.  Every day you see more and more advertisements from attorneys’ offices saying “If you take (or took) this drug you may be eligible for damages.”  One law firm’s number is 1-800-BAD-DRUG.  They make their entire business about suing drug companies.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an advocate for pharmaceutical companies.  I think what they charge for some medications is outrageous.  They are, however, in business not to be the saviors of all the sick people in the world but to make money.  Saving sick people is a lucrative business and I don’t begrudge them their profits.  Let’s not forget that a large portion of those profits goes to research that has brought us more cancer fighting, AIDS fighting, leukemia fighting drugs, etc. 

Anyway – I got off track.  Just about every product advertised on TV these days has some type of disclaimer attached to it.  Exercise equipment tells you not to begin using their product without approval from your doctor.  Why?  They don’t want to get sued if you have a heart attack while using their equipment.  But hey – at least it doesn’t say you could have a heart attack while using or after stopping use of their product!  Of course, once they get sued after someone has a heart attack AFTER they walk half an hour on the treadmill that will happen.

I won’t even mention the “tags for stupid people” they now put on small appliances and electronic devices.  You know – the one on your hair dryer that says “Do not immerse in water.”  Those tags are a subject for another day.

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