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corporate dominance | health

About your "responsibility" to take certain drugs

Depressed? Anxious? Hurting? Have yellow toe nails? Hey, look how you are selfishly impacting others. Why not try a new, expensive, possibly dangerous prescription drug to take care of your unsightly or inconvenient ills?
I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the way that certain multinational pharmaceutical corporations are marketing their drugs to us. I mean, I've been unsettled by the whole idea of drug commercials, and the transparent greed of the pharmaceutical industry for some time. But the trend in drug commercials toward preying on our insecurities is a tactic that has no place in the "health care" field. I am appalled that this development has been allowed to continue.

You have seen them. The ads for drugs targeting depression, anxiety, herpes, arthritis, and all the others where you are made to believe that your illness is inconveniencing others. How dare you continue to suffer from this, and subject others to it, when all you need is this very expensive drug full of disconcerting side effects? "Who does depression hurt," we are asked. Then we are shown a sobering array of dark, suffering individuals who are paying for your sin, the sin of depression. Everyone from your spouse to your children to yes, even your dog. "Haven't you thought about THEM" reads the unspoken subtext. "You might not think you need medication, but how could you be so inconsiderate toward THEM?"

The anti-anxiety drug ads read from almost the same script. They show a person -- usually a woman -- clutching her head and furrowing her brow in a grimmace of stress and anxiety. Clearly, she's about to come unglued, probably screeching at everyone around her. In the background, her spouse, her children, her co-workers all look on with sad or disgusted resolve, disapproving victims of her emotional outbursts. These commercials are meant to force people into taking drugs they might not need. This exploitation of our deepest insecurites is not new to the advertising world, but it seems especially harmful for commercials to be fostering the belief in people that their refusal to reach for a bottle of pills is a burden to others.

Our children are enlisted to remind us that if we don't take drugs for anemia, we will be too tired to play with them, and if we don't take drugs for anxiety, we will be so cranky we will send them into therapy. Our dogs are enlisted to remind us that if we don't take drugs for arthritis, we will be useless and unable to walk and play with them. Our spouses, too, are supposed to be telling us to take diet drugs and mood altering drugs and drugs for yellow toe nails so that we will be more attractive and better able to serve them. Sometimes, as in the ad for a certain herpes drug, we are meant to believe that we are recklessly endangering others if we refuse the drug.

The valtrex ads by drug pusher GlaxoSmithKline are especially appalling. They are apparently designed to convince people to take a drug that will not cure them, and is not intended for their own benefit. Instead, they are to take it in spite of any side effects because if they don't, they are putting others in danger. They are scolded that "one study shows that up to 70% of people who get herpes get it from someone who was not exhibiting symptoms." The lesson: No matter how careful you think you are, you cannot spare others from your uncleanliness unless you seek redemption in our profit margin. What this ad fails to mention is that this "one study," by GJ Mertz et al, was sponsored by the drug company itself, and most other studies come up with opposing results. In fact, most healthcare professionals who quote that same statistic are unaware that it is GlaxoSmithKline that is behind their dubious knowledge on this subject. Many read it about it in places like this ( http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/489964), designed to appeal to professionals in the healthcare field. If you click on the link, you will find a website that first asks you to register (it's free, go ahead and use faux info like I did), and then gives you the very convincing and professional-sounding "facts" about this issue. It is only if you scroll all the way up or all the way down, and actually pay attention to the periphery, that you will see that what you just read is, in fact, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. It's a commercial. So here they are, spreading the story that if you don't take their drug you will likely give herpes to others, no matter how careful you are about it. This is a very disempowering and questionable assertion, and one they should not be allowed to make in a television commercial.

Other drug commercials use a similar tactic of appealing to your insecurity and your sense of pubic service. They create "diseases" out of things that were never considered medical conditions in the past, and urge you to treat these diseases with their products -- for the good of all. The yellow toe nail thing is my favorite example. People who wear shoes get yellow toe nails. That's just how it is. It has to do with harmless fungi that co-exist on the human body with us. Those same fungi have been around for thousands, if not millions, of years and have never hurt anyone. (If you want the technical name for them, they're called "onychomycosis.") Like the millions of harmless micro-beings who inhabit our guts, our skin, our hair follicles and our mouths, they're just part of the vast ecosystm we call our "body." They do not hurt us. But drug pusher Novartis has caricaturized these little microbes as gross, nasty, bugger-like cartoon monsters in their commercials, and warned us how "unsightly" our friends will find this condition if we don't reach for a daily dose of Lamisil. It is only through manipulative, exploitive, and hypnotic advertising commercials like these that this pharmaceutical giant could ever get people to take a sometimes deadly toxin like Lamisil to "treat" a harmless and natural condition like this almost asymptomatic nail fungus. The fine print in their ads quickly and almost invisibly spews out the truth: Lamisil causes all kinds of side effects. This drug causes headaches, diarrhea, stomach problems, taste and vision disturbances, and most alarmingly of all, it causes liver damage. Some people who have taken lamisil have actually died. Others have required liver transplants. All for the sake of toe nails that aren't yellow. Does this make sense to you?

I urge you to think carefully before reaching for any drug. Think about whether you really need it, and whether this is really the best thing for you. If you are depressed or anxious or suffering from arthritis or herpes or anemia, look into all your options and choose what is best for you. But don't let them convince you that the rest of us will think less of you until you take their drugs. Fight their onslaught of brainwashing, manipulative, and dangerous ads with real knowledge and self confidence.

BEWARE! 14.Sep.2006 12:52


After I was assaulted and almost killed, I went through the WHOLE deal. I had to fight to NOT take prescription meds, pain meds, antidepressant meds, and all kinds of syic meds, and stay with my only safe herb for pain, anxiety and withdrawals from the DANGEROUS meds, the herb, for a drug it is not, Cannabis. Sativa having more of a therapeutic affect then Cannabis Indica. I have now gone through 2 surgeries in the last 6 months without ANY prescription pain meds, just my legal and doctor approved CANNINIS!

Zaki 14.Sep.2006 13:02


I meant CANNABIS! (I cannot let that go for the respect I have for such a gift of nature)

I agree, but 14.Sep.2006 14:30


Herpes HURTS. I unapologetically reach for my acyclovir the minute I feel an outbreak coming on because herpes sores are a painful nuisance that I can do without. Also I can't make love (tyoo painful) when im having an outbreak and that sucks for me and my partner because we both greatly enjoy having dirty dirty sex.

well yes 14.Sep.2006 16:14


I used to get cold sores, but now when I feel one coming, I use the prescription for Herpes, take L-lysine, and zinc, and I am lucky that I am able to avoid any outbreaks, been like 6 years. However, I do not think that is what kind of prescription drugs that were being spake of.

Yes, yes, by all means! 14.Sep.2006 16:17

calling BS

Yes, if acyclovir helps you, then cool! The point of this story is to carefully consider what you really need, rather than what they are trying to sell you based on what other people think. So, for example, taking acyclovir (or an herbal remedy, which can also be very effective) for a herpes outbreak is a great thing to be able to do to help YOU manage your symptoms. If it helps you, then yay! But if it's something you are only doing because some big corporation sold you a pack of insecurity, making you feel like it's your duty to take it -- like valtrex -- then please know you have other options.

The same goes for depression or anxiety. These are very real conditions that can be very painful. If you have them, and find something that works, then by all means use it if you like. But don't think that the rest of us are sitting out here in judgement, waiting for you to dutifully take some drug just so you don't inconvenience us.

I guess the point is to empower you to make your own decisions based on checking all available information for yourself, questioning anything that is sponsored by the drug companies, and never letting them make you feel stigmatized or gross because you have some condition or other. You're not gross, you don't owe anyone a duty to patronize drug companies, and you have the right to use or reject the tools of the pharmaceutical corporations as you see fit.

herbal help 14.Sep.2006 16:44


Incidentally, the herbs p. vulgaris and melissa (lemon balm) are both pretty effective against herpes outbreaks, and vitamin c supplements and lysine, as well as making sure to get enough sleep also helps.

For depression, lots of people swear by st john's wort. Anxiety? Valerian and st john's wort both work very well for me.

The thing about herbal remedies is that it's best to grow them in your own garden or get them from someone you trust who grew them, because that's the way around mega-pharma-corp. If you buy the herbs, they may very well be coming from a soulless corporation that co-opted the "natural" movement for profit.

nicely posted 14.Sep.2006 18:59


kudos, to the alternative meds. I had one Backcracker on coolsville Hawthorne blvd,
prescribe me all sorts of ibuprof' like 800 mg 24/7
to deal with herniated disc and told me what was my choice other than
this and surgery. I went to Physical Th. for two years and medicated with
Mother Nature and I'm okay. not completely cured, but I'm sure I'm better
than if I ingested all that pharma-fooey for years.

there are choices, and they are the biggest way we can change things
for the loving better best around this troubled ol' world


a comment 16.Sep.2006 09:03


herpes. I find that Lysine helps if taken internally right before an outbreak. The avoidance of acidic foods also seems to help make an outbreak less problematic.

BTW, that Valtrex commercial is humiliating to watch!

Fuck the drug companies...take your Lysine, keep clean and dry, and wait for that dirty sex until your outbreak is gone.

nail fungus -- aside 16.Sep.2006 17:03

roger lore rlore@ocom.edu

good points, yes.

As an aside, for nail fungus there is a Chinese topical medicine called Hua Tuo Gao. Applied to the nail itself, it gets shows some results within 2-3 weeks. And it doesn't kill your liver, as the author mentioned.

Most Chinese herbs stores carry it, such as Wing Ming Market on SE 82, south of Division. The price is very reasonable.

Don't forget the zinc! 17.Sep.2006 12:12


For cold sores, herpes that is.

Eli Lilly Zyprexa linked to serious diabetes risk 22.Oct.2006 06:59

Daniel Haszard zyprexadiabetes@gmail.com

Eli Lilly 3Q 10% profit rise is nearly all from psyche drugs including zyprexa.

How have they schemed to squeeze more money from their zyprexa cash cow when pill production has actually gone down?

ANS-Eli Lilly profiteers have jacked up the price of zyprexa to the federal govt,from the Medicare D payouts.

Eli Lilly is a big drug company that puts profits over patients.

They covered up findings that their Zyprexa has a TEN times greater risk of causing type 2 diabetes

Only 9% of Americans trust big pharma,right around the same rating as tobacco companies.

Daniel Haszard Eli Lilly zyprexa drug caused my diabetes www.zyprexa-victims.com

Zyprexa kills 31.Oct.2006 06:28

Susan Bleeck

My son was killed by the Eli Lilly atypical antipsychotic called Zyprexa. For many years, he had taken the cheap and proven generic drug lithium for his condition, which was manic depression. However, when he went onto a Medicaid program, he was prescribed Zyprexa and told it was "Safe, safe, perfectly safe." Though he gained a great deal of weight on it, he was satisfied with how he felt. I found out after his death that his doctor had him go once to have his blood glucose measured (this can be a sign of diabetes). It was elevated and the doctor put him on another atypical antipsychotic which he didn't like. So the doctor LET HIM GO BACK ON ZYPREXA and never tested his blood glucose again. One day he didn't feel well, and asked to go to the hospital. I didn't take him, to my eternal sorrow. Two days later, he fell into a coma from which he never emerged. He died in five days of profound hyperglycemia. My only son, age 39. Eli Lilly is still making buckets of money off this drug - its biggest seller, even though it has the most lethal side effects and thousands of people with mental illness who took it now have diabetes. Children, too. Disgusting and tragic. The pharmaceutical industry is like a big octupus, wrapping its tentacles around the weakest among us. Another atypical antipsychotic, has just been approved for children with AUTISM, a very serious condition and one that is growing in numbers. This will just open the door, very soon, for all the atypical antipsychotics to be given to children, another group of the weakest among us. And Congress does nothing. NOTHING. They are all bought and paid for by Big Pharma. 100,000 people a year die of prescription drugs in the U.S. every year.