RICKTER SCALE: Spending time with the elephant in the room

Every time you turn on your television, there’s a pitch for a new drug

Although I’ve been watching much more CNN since Trump’s election, you can relax if you’re worried that this is about politics.

The topic today is that other elephant in the room, the pink one with white stripes you may see as one of the 47 side-effects of elefobiphix, a new drug for people who have a fear of being confined in close quarters with a pachyderm.

Every time you turn on your television, there’s a pitch for a new drug you didn’t realize you needed designed to cure an ailment you didn’t know you had.

If you think that a lot of these commercials run during the day because they are geared toward seniors you’d be wrong. Based on the appearances of the people appearing in them, it appears that when it comes to carving out new profit margins, the pharmaceutical conglomerates are open to all demographics.

A personal favourite is a new one that aims to relieve you of diarrhea and bowel discomfort. One of the  47 or so side effects they mention is that it may – hold your breath, among other things – cause constipation and bowel discomfort. Also, it should only be taken if you don’t have any of a list of symptoms that’s as long as the list of ingredients in the drug.

My advice to anyone thinking of getting that prescription filled is to have a chat with a doctor or dietician first about a more natural approach to calming your innards and reducing your runs to the bathroom.

Another thing that really irks me is the names they come up with, Entresto being my new favourite of the month. I’m sure the thought process for that choice by the marketing magicians dressed in lab coats was that Entrusto sounded too good to be true. Or, more likely it had already been patented by the competition for a new elixir for people dealing with trust issues.

The scariest part is the warnings they whisper at the end of the commercial after they’ve spent the first 50 seconds trying to convince you how good the product is. Sounds like what you may wind up with that in some cases could kill you is a lot worse than what you were dealing with in the first place.

While I’m in favour of medical research and would like to see cures or effective treatments for serious health problems, it seems like the drug companies are more interested in eliminating the symptoms for a myriad of human conditions that don’t rank anywhere remotely near the need to cure cancer.

In a lot of cases, what they prescribe sounds like it aims to makes the symptoms less noticeable, rather than eliminating the cause.

At the risk of sounding cynical, perhaps the reasoning behind their approach is that there’s a lot more money to made by prescribing something long-term that keeps you ticking than there is in coming up with something that cures what’s ailing you in the first place.



Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist, who has spent many a day with elephants in the room.



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