Monday, July 2, 2018

Talk To Your Doctor
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, July 2, 2018

It is impossible to watch any television or read any magazines or newspapers without seeing the advertisements promoting a drug, or a new and improved drug.  Not only is the drug promoted, the ads identify ALL of the KNOWN side effects plus any other side effect that by taking the drug may result in.  At the end of each ad it instructs you to “talk to your doctor.”

I recently was prescribed a pain reliever after back surgery and it listed the “possible side effects.” If you read them, they would scare off anyone from taking the medication.  Do all these side effects actually exist or is this the drug company’s way of protecting themselves when something goes wrong.  Take a look at just this one medication’s warning typed in the font size on the accompanying documentation for the medication.  You tell me, if you were provided anything with a font size so small would you read it?  Given the small print I am assuming that the company that put such a warning into print this small does not want you to read it, but again if anything should go wrong they would use the warning against any claims made against the drug company.  Similar disclaimers on Radio and TV commercials end with the sound of a voice talking at least 5 times faster than anyone could possibly understand.

Even though it may be rare, some people have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug.  Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect.  Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash;’ hives’ itching’ red, swollen blistered or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.  Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.  Chest pain or pressure.  Feeling very tired or weak.  Shortness of breath.  Any unexplained bruising or bleeding, shakiness.  Trouble walking. 

The actual warning was twice as long as the above paragraph.  If I included ALL the warnings I doubt anyone would make an attempt to read it.

I counted the number of different drugs advertised as described that appeared on my television over the course of just one hour – there were 10 such ads and that was on only one channel.  Now multiply that by the number of television channels and you get the point – the advertising cost is astronomical.

Have you ever considered that YOU and I can NOT simply go to the local drug store to purchase these wonder drugs, they MUST be prescribed by a doctor; thus the reason for the direction at the end of each ad to “talk to your doctor.”  The ads must be working because there is a never ending parade of such ads promoting products that you and I cannot purchase.  Let that sink.

My advice would be to follow the money.  The ONLY way those ads can ever be successful would be for the various television watchers to first have the ailment described in the ads and then for them to literally “talk to their doctor.”  The ads imply that your doctors would be totally unaware or ignorant of the medication had it not been for you “talking to your doctor” to educate him or her.  Your doctor then magically writes you a prescription for the medication you talked about. 

There are so many things wrong with this picture.  First if you read between the lines of the ads you would think the medical profession is deaf and dumb and would not know about the medication being promoted.  That in itself is a false assumption.  But in order to pay for the hundreds of drug producing advertisements, they must be doing something right otherwise the cost of the ads would be totally out of line and prohibitive.

But it gets worse.  Think again about the cost of the advertisements.  The drug manufacturers must get a return on their advertising dollars so how do they make a profit advertising a drug that YOU and I cannot purchase without a prescription by a doctor? 

INSURANCE COMPANIES!  America has become a country of insurance policies; one on top of another.  We have them to cover our lives, our homes, our cars, our healthcare even our pets.  Athletes insure their legs, their arms, their eyes.  We insure washing machines, air conditioners, and other valuables.  When it comes to covering the cost of the drugs being advertised most people who are NOT independently wealthy, could not afford the per-pill cost.  So how do the various drug companies get paid and make a profit?  Insurance companies pay for the cost of the medications and some patients, but not all, pay a deductible.  If you have ever stood in a line at a local pharmacy you know just how shocking it is to hear the dollar amounts that some patients pay as co-payments – they are out of sight. 

Here are some questions that have always disturbed me.  Does the medication you and I take cure the problem or simply hide the symptoms of a much larger problem?  Will the medication become addictive?  But here is a question that disturbs me more than any other.  Would a drug company that finds an actual cure for a medical condition make the cure public?  If they did, they would then stop the sale of other drugs they have been selling to hide the symptoms rather than cure the ailment?  That income would cease to exist.  See Full Meausre, June 24, 2018 as stated below.

It is much like the internal combustion gasoline engine in our cars.  If someone invented a power source for cars that did not use gasoline would we ever see it on the roads?  The gas and oil companies would do everything within their power, legal or otherwise, to prevent it from becoming the new automobile engine.  Such an invention would cost those companies millions if not billions of dollars and an untold number of layoffs of workers.  The same thing is true of drug companies.  They are making billions of dollars selling medications that mask the symptoms rather than curing the ailment.  If a company were to discover a cure for a disease they would be biting the hand that feeds them by making the cure available when selling the current medications is far more profitable.

This is not just my opinion, check out the third segment of Full Measure aired on June 24th 2018 at;  it is right in line with this Nugget.  While you are there watch the other two segments as well. All three are outstanding and eye opening.

Sadly nothing will change.  When something appears to be working, why stop it?  As television and print advertising costs rise, so will the cost of the medications being advertised.  The solution to me is simple.  Stop advertising medications on television and in the print media.  If a drug company wants to advertise a medication that the public cannot individually pay for over-the-counter, they should be forbidden from using television to do so and instead spend their advertising dollars on marketing their products directly to the medical profession.  The reduction in advertising costs would be monumental.  The right thing to do would then be to reduce the cost of the drugs by the amount saved but you and I both know that would never happen.  Profits drive business.  If a drug company makes more money due to the cut in advertising costs, I seriously doubt they would cut the cost of the drugs being sold out of the kindness of their heart. 

I have seen reports that medications being sold in other parts of the world are significantly lower than the same medications cost in America.  I don’t know if that is true or not but I do know a lot of people buy their drugs from Mexico and/or Canada to reduce the cost of their expensive drugs. 

Then of course we have “named” drugs versus “generic” drugs.  Why?  Why would anyone buy a “named drug” at a higher cost if a “generic drug” was available at a lower cost?  Why not sell just one drug at the lower cost?

The cost of Healthcare is extremely complex.  Doctors authorize more tests than are required just to cover their medical insurance should something go wrong.  Multiple doctors prescribe multiple medications to just one patient increasing the odds that one or more of the prescribed drugs may cause a chemical reaction due to the combination of drugs.  In this regard, you can go to and complete the section that compares the various drugs you are taking and advises you of any concerns or potential hazards.

The real problem, in my opinion, is that far too many of us put 100% of our faith and trust in the hands of our insurance companies and pay little to no attention to what they are paying for or how much the medications and treatments cost.  Few of us are acute enough to know whether a drug, tests or procedures are actually required and take the doctor’s word for it.  After all, we are not paying for it so why should we care?  Right?

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