Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ask your Daughter--errrr, Doctor- about Plavix

Daughter with waaaaayy too much time on her hands- and too much control over her dad- is staring at a laptop screen conveniently (?) located on the kitchen table when she commands her father's attention- "Dad? Your PAD could lead to heart attack and stroke!"

Dad agrees to pay attention, by placing his head as close to his daughters as possible to watch the animation provided by "Look," daughter continues, "blood platelets can be blocked in your arteries, increasing the likelihood of heart attack and stroke...Ask you doctor about Plavix?"

Father whispers something inaudible to her- "yes, I'll ask my doctor about Plavix" seems the most likely response, because she smiles, but considering the fact that the commercial has another thirty seconds to run, I think he probably replied, "Doctor, what about Plavix?"

Seriously, this commercial goes on and on AND ON, as the daughter takes the role usually reserved for the unseen narrator, bleating the entire text of any Plavix brochure, right down to the "Plavix is not for everyone" throwaway disclaimer line. Daughter and Dad are riveted to the cartoons featuring blocked arteries and glowing entire human bodies.

Two quick questions: First, this guy knows he has PAD, but doesn't know about Plavix- if his doctor actually diagnosed him and didn't prescribe some expensive medication, I find that very, very strange. More likely this guy has been diagnosed only by Doctor Daughter, who is apparently determined to scare her dad into believing that his aching right leg is a sign of a much more serious disease that is likely to kill him at any moment.

Second- why doesn't this commercial end when the dad agrees to see the doctor, as he clearly is when he smiles and nods, and the daughter smiles and nods back? I can only imagine that it's because the makers of Plavix don't want you to actually ASK your doctor about their medication- they want you to be so terrified that little walls are being built in your arteries that you will DEMAND the drug, RIGHT NOW.

There was a great Tom Toles cartoon a few years ago in The Washington Post which featured a man sitting in front of a television set, watching a pharmecutical commercial. The TV says "Ask your doctor if this medication is right for you." The man watching TV responds "Is this medication right for me?" Pharmecutical commercials and websites aren't interested in keeping you informed about your "options." They are designed to send you running in terror to your doctor, armed with the "information" you "need" to convince him to prescribe this or that expensive, probably unnecessary drug (as if doctors really need convincing anyway.) Drugs are being sold like cars, fast food, and cell phones- "these are things that you NEED, right NOW, so go get them!" Because doctors are still being used as middlemen because of our annoying prescription drug laws, prospective users must be given the weapons needed to get the doctors to sign off.

Your leg aches? Maybe it's because you don't exercise. Maybe it's because you sleep on it. Maybe it's because the train doors slammed on it the other day. Better not take any chances- go get an expensive prescription for Plavix. Big Pharma, and your daughter, will thank you.


  1. Prescrip drug ads are a plague upon society. As are big Pharma's bribery of doctors. No wonder drugs cost so much in the US.

  2. I saw this ad a couple of nights ago and immediately thought of this blog. It was practically screaming out, "jjamele, please snark me!" ;)

  3. I remember when prescription drug ads were illegal. I also remember when that law was repealed, and thinking, "God, now there will be something even more annoying than car commercials, and that's a tall order."

  4. You should see the Viagra campaign we've got running in Canada right now; it starts with the spokesmutant talking about some conventional activity such as going antiquing; the mushhead treats said bland passtime as a sort of torture that can only be relieved by his taking the boner pill.

  5. These commercials aren't just annoying, the border on socially irresponsible.

    On a wholly unrelated note, I sometimes feel we may be soulmates.