Friday, September 4, 2009

Jane's Story of Undaunted Courage, or How I Forced the Doctor to Prescribe Drugs to my Mom

"Jane, like a lot of people, is starting to see changes in her mom as she gets older — she's forgetting things, getting irritated easily, having trouble doing everyday things. Join her as she talks to her family and the doctor and moves toward an answer."

We click and watch the commercial- Jane is talking to her dad. She's worried about mom- "she's forgetting things, she's always repeating herself." Dad is in gutless, cowardly denial- "she's fine!" No help for Jane here.

Now Jane is talking to some other guy- "I'm really worried about mom. She's having trouble doing everyday things!" This guy doesn't have any lines, but the look on his face tells me "good lord, what does this woman want from me? Why is she bothering me with her personal issues?"

Now Jane is sitting at a desk, talking to a person who is clearly supposed to be a doctor- white jacket, badge on lapel, you get the drift. "The doctor said 'its just old age" Jane tells us- and we see the "doctor" just shaking her head sadly.

Jane is really, really upset now that the entire planet seems to be in on some vast conspiracy to prevent her mom from getting help for what is clearly a serious medical problem. At this point, she reminds me of any number of movies in which the main character is convinced that she is in possession of the truth, yet everyone around her is trying to convince her that she's crazy.

Fortunately (?) Jane finally finds an enabler who clues her in to, which helpfully feeds Jane's paranoia with downloadable documents and cartoons she can print up and shove into her doctor's face. Seriously- next thing you know, we see Jane at her mom's doctor's office again- only this time, she's showing all this cool stuff she's printed up from, like she's a fricking detective confronting the murderer with the indisputable evidence of her crime.

Deflated and defeated, the doctor now nods in affirmation and agrees to prescribe some drug to Jane's mom. Dad has been brought low, the medical community has been shown up, and Jane of Fricking Arc can walk away triumphant, because she's finally become a big enough nag to convince a doctor to Drug Mom. Way to go, Jane. We'll remember you to the Nobel Community.

This is just sick. I guess "Ask your Doctor if [insert drug name] is right for you" wasn't cutting it anymore- now Big Pharma has moved on to "if your doctor says no, print up stuff from our site and shove it in his face. And if the people around you discourage you from getting the drugs, ignore them, because they are just clueless assholes anyway. Be a hero- get your loved ones on drugs. Now."

And get this disclaimer, again from the website- "This Web site contains information relating to various medical conditions and treatment. Such information is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease. In order for you to make intelligent healthcare decisions, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare provider for your, or your loved one's, personal medical needs." Isn't that a riot? The disclaimer tells us that we "should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease"- which is exactly what Jane does. "The information provided here is "not meant to substitute for the advice of a physician..." but that's exactly what Jane is ENCOURAGED TO DO!

And the tagline at the bottom of the Homepage:

This commercial is part of Eisai Inc. and Pfizer Inc's ongoing commitment to help educate caregivers and patients on the importance of diagnosing memory problems early.

"Educate caregivers.." yes, that does sound better than "threaten" or "cajole" or "harrass," doesn't it?

You Can Be The One- to strong-arm the only doctor left in the United States who won't prescribe drugs as a pavolovian response to the patient walking in the door anyway. I mean, seriously- there's a doctor out there who told some woman "your mom is just getting old? " Really?


  1. The premise of this ad is similar to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, only in theirs "you" is the patient. The idea is the same, though -- "everyone" is against you and "they" said you couldn't do it, but you refused to take no for an answer and you pushed and pushed until you finally proved "them" all wrong-- because YOU'RE awesome.

  2. We sort of soft-pedal the whole "Get your loved ones on drugs NOW" bit up here in the Frozen North; the ads that run non stop feature a concerned younger person confronted with a vaguely ashamed older person who just can't stop buying a particular item because, Gosh darn it, Alzheimers has turmed her brain into an Etch-a-Sketch. The premise behind the mild suggestion to talk (read: browbeat) to one's doctor about treatment options is that "Since there's too much fruit in the kitchen, we need to put Mother on drugs yesterday."