Friday, November 02, 2007

The Drugging of America

It is a fact that the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow the kind of drug advertising that we are exposed to on our televisions on a daily basis. The kind of advertising that plays on emotions and fear. The average person sees 10 or more drug ads every day and the message is very clear. If you've got a problem, they have a drug for it.

I have nothing against drugs; they save lives, smooth out chemical imbalances, kill viruses and are a necessary part of our lives. What I am against is doctors issuing prescriptions before they consider diet, exercise, rest or environment. And parents who think, with the first sneeze or sniffle, that their children need to be rushed to the doctors and put on antibiotics.

Our immune systems were meant to build up resistance to the many bugaboos that constantly attack it but with the over use of drugs, the only thing that's building up a resistance are the bugaboos. Witness the new, virulent strain of staff that has doctors and people on edge.

And then there are all those possibly dangerous side effects. This is of special concern for our children, whose bodies are small and unused to alien substances. Instead of Ritalin and the like, many parents are discovering that a change in their children's diets can make all the difference. By eliminating foods full of chemicals and refined sugars and by examining the possibility of allergies, many parents have realized dramatic changes in their children's behavior. Yes, sometimes drugs are necessary, but why start with the drugs? Why not start with the other possibilities first and then, if the holistic approach fails, administer drugs. There's a lot to be said in defense of proper diet and exercise and consideration of the whole being.

I place much of the blame for a drug-oriented society on our drug companies. They have made extraordinary strides with the development of drugs for a wide diversity of diseases and are, indeed, saving lives. But it seems that their bottom line is their focal point as they offer doctors huge incentives to get their drugs out for public consumption, which encourages greedy doctors to dispense drugs before they consider alternative approaches. And their constant bombardment of advertisements imply that anything that is wrong with us can be fixed with a pill and that there is no need for us to be uncomfortable or unhappy. A quick fix. Unfortunately, a lot of what is wrong with us is our diets and a lack of exercise, and there is no quick fix.

To the drug companies I say this: your profit margins are huge so if you want to impress me, spend less of your money on your bombardment of advertisements and pill pushing and more on making necessary drugs more accessible to the elderly and low income families by making them cheaper. And spend more of your profits researching cures for orphan diseases, the ones you don't see as profitable.The business of drugs is not just about business, it's about our lives.


Blogger Pam said...

Anvilcloud said...
It's a huge business for sure. We can see American TV up here, so we see the ads.
6:55 AM

Pam said...
Good morning AC, I thought I was the only one perusing the net this early in the day.
7:22 AM

Ginnie said...
You are so right, Pam, on all counts. I have a friend who is a manager of "Paneras" and he says that the drug reps spend thousands of dollars every day providing catered lunches to Dr's offices and clinics. If that isn't a type of "kickback" I don't know what is ...and the Dr's hand the stuff out like candy.
7:45 PM

KGMom said...
Preaching to the choir, sister. In a prior life, I worked for our state Department of Health, and we held hearings for a state run drug buying program. We wanted to do bulk purchase, but drug companies resisted. So we wanted to put them through the proverbial ringer. Drug company execs came in and flat out refused to answer questions on their profits. They would only say they spent as much on advertising as they did on research & development!
9:16 PM

Alyssa said...
You've beautifully put into words exactally how I feel. The drug companies have completely run amok and also run this country. With the huge amounts of money they spend on lobbying and supporting various elected officals, they have a scary stranglehold on us all. Excellent editorial!
12:43 AM

CrazyBunnyLady said...
I agree. Drug companies should NOT be allowed to advertise. It causes hypocondria. Then everyone thinks they have that condition (ex. migraines) and they don't understand what a real migraine feels like. I remember one chick at work who spent a whole day complaining to me that she had a migraine and how horrible it was to have migraines. Finally, I told her that I have migraines and if she had the ability to stand in front of me and complain, she wasn't having a migraine.
2:28 PM

Pam said...
Ginnie, Kgmom, Alyssa, Crazybunnylady, we can only hope that enough people get sufficiently ticked off to start putting pressure on these big companies and our government. I think we forget that there is power in numbers and that we can make a difference.
6:10 AM

Bonita said...
Pam, I concur with everything you've said. These drug companies are like the oil companies when it comes to profit. There is an imbalance, and just as we must learn to walk more and drive less, we must also learn to practice good nutrition and food preparation. So many of our diseases are related to the lack of exercise and a healthy diet. I like your word 'holistic', as we cannot treat one part of life without affecting the other parts.
3:19 PM

Cathy said...
Truly. I cannot believe the drug advertisements on TV - from so many angles. It is very troubling.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Hello everyone, I was messing around with my blog, trying to get a save draft moved to the top (it didn't work) so had to copy and paste everyone's comments on my last post.

7:26 AM  
Blogger kate said...

We are affected by this here too, because so many of the cable channels are US ones.

10:23 AM  
Blogger joared said...

I certainly agree with your observations and views about the drug companies. Bulk purchasing should be allowed and we should all be raising cane with those who represent us in D.C. to do so, but they're so beholden to the dollar donations they receive.

1:00 AM  

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