Friday, October 14, 2011

Stick your A-Fib up your...well, I think you can guess the rest, Big Pharma

If the condition that Pradaxa treats is so damned serious, why is it "commonly" reduced to the term "A-Fib?" Jesus Christ, is it a disease or a shortstop prospect for the New York Yankees? I know that if my doctor told me I had this condition that required the use of the word "bleeding" half a dozen times to explain it properly, I wouldn't want him to shorten it to "A-Fib." I mean, I'm glad you are so freaking hip, American Medical Association- but this IS my life you are talking about.

What's next? "Mrs Smith, your son was just admitted into the emergency room, he has a broken leg, or what we call B-Leg." Or how about "your husband has suffered a brain aneurysm, or BISM." Because if you are going to be sick or hurt, that shouldn't prevent us from being Hip, should it?

Second, doesn't Pradaxa sound like more of a trap than a benefit? Don't stop taking Pradaxa without your doctor's permission, as stopping may cause internal bleeding. Taking Pradaxa, by the way, may cause internal bleeding. So if you take this drug, you risk bleeding to death internally. And if you stop, you run the same risk. Ain't it great to grow old in the 21st century?

Finally, I like how the makers of this drug seem to realize that the side effects of their Miracle Drug are too scary to be explained by just one doctor- no, we need an entire phalanx of Caring Professionals to explain to us in soothing terms why this drug is really beneficial despite all this scary stuff that can happen to you if you take it. Don't believe the female doctor? Here's a male doctor telling you the same thing. Oh, and here's a fat old guy who can barely walk, but take our word for it, he's MUCH HAPPIER because he's taking Pradaxa. Or at least, he will be, until it kills him.

The FDA is doing a great job, isn't it? Every time I see one of these drug ads, with it's one or two lines of benefits followed by four paragraphs of warnings, all I can think is how ridiculous it is that we live under a system which allows drugs to be rushed to market and peddled by paid spokesmen and actual doctors alike as long as the ads come with long lists of disclaimers. So the moment one branch of Big Pharma manages to produce a drug which SEEMS to have SOME effect on dealing with a disease (and we are talking everything from dementia to heartburn) it's on the shelf at your local pharmacy, and never mind that it may cause all kinds of bad things to happen to sad, desperate, and above all Trusting people who are only trying to do what their doctors told them too (more and more often, because they told the doctor they saw this ad and were convinced to badger him for this drug.)

Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for these drug companies to be told to keep working on these new products until the risk of these truly horrific side effects was at least greatly decreased? Oh, but that slows down the money machine, doesn't it? Can't have that. So I guess all we can do is quietly suggest that maybe doctors go back to acting like doctors and not drug peddling middle men for the Pharmaceutical industry. And stop treating us like children by trying to give serious diseases "cool" names.


  1. I think you'll appreciate this.

  2. And to think that Seinfeld was making a joke when he said he expected to see an ad for defibrillators on the idiot lantern: "I had a heart attack THIS big and Boom, it's gone!!"