Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well Doc, I'm Afraid Herpes Will Hurt my Wind Surfing.

Honestly, what IS it with drug ads?

Many of you may know this, but I'm saying it anyhow. In the US, there's this odd little law that says that, in a drug ad, if you say what the drug does, you have to then list the side-effects. I don't have a clue what this is supposed to do, but there it is. A really dumb law that results in ads that make no sense whatsoever.

Do you remember the old Claritin ads? The ones that showed some woman wind surfing through a field of wheat, culminating in an aerial shot showing that she has written the word Claritin in the field. What the hell?! All it said was to "see your doctor." Why? Why should I see my doctor? How would that line of questioning go?

You: Well Doc, my leg hurts. Does Claritin help that?
Doc: Nope.

It's beyond stupid. I remember the Crestor ads from not too long ago. They were narrated by Patrick Stewart and had a Dr. Seuess-like cadence to them. They all finished with a statement about how Crestor would help you find your way. What the fuck does that mean? Does it mean it helps people who are bad with maps? Is it a new service from TomTom?

It's even stupider when they actually tell you what the drug does, which opens the flood gates of side-effects. May cause death. And the videos that play during the ads are at times amazingly confusing. Ads for herpes medications are my favorites.

Woman: I have genital herpes.
Man: And I don't because I'm not a two-bit whore like her.

They then go into a spiel about how they won't let herpes affect their life together. Considering herpes is an STD, this means it won't affect their sex, right? Wrong, apparently. Sex was never a problem. It was their picnics, barbecues, movie-watching, and water skiing that was affected. I can understand that. I can only imagine how fucked my water sports would be if I had herpes. Herpes eats the finish on surfboards, I've heard.

Come on! At least film euphemisms for sex! Film them wrestling, or driving very fast, or eating seafood. But no, they film them doing what bizarre, sexless people in these ads do, windsurf through wheat because they're no longer hampered in this endeavor by some ridiculous affliction, like Restless Leg Thrombosis.

I would take this time to mention that the US is the only western country that allows direct drug advertising to patients. While I don't actually support regulating the advertising, it's the right of a manufacturer of a product to advertise it, there are some pretty damned good reasons why it's regulated in other countries. Our other option is the absurd circumstances we're in, now. And things are getting worse since drug makers can invent problems and then push the "cure" onto a gullible and arguably hypochondriacal public. This silly regulation about side-effects does nothing but give us puzzling ads.

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