Happy Endings

Ever wonder where the happy endings to our children’s nursery stories, to Hollywood pictures and other types of prose, have gone? Well, many of the nursery stuff (particularly ones from our English culture) were somewhat gory, when you think about it (think of the unfortunate Humpty Dumpty, Jack with Jill on the hill and others). Happy endings still do exist, if only on our TV drug commercials.

These art forms feature adults, for the most part, suffering from health issues. They take the medication, and, presto! They seem miraculously cured, or symptoms are magically alleviated. They all get better!

Back in the day, we went to the doctor, who would prescribe something. Under this model, we become more proactive (“ask your doctor if ____________________ is right for you”). How could it be wrong? Just watch the commercial. We do need to pose some questions, however guided by the voiceover:

-Have you been to places where certain fungal infections are common…..What? What are these? Where are these?

-Am I allergic to ______ or any of its ingredients? How would I know? What about some of the excipients used to make the tablets? Am I allergic to lactose, corn starch, D&C Red#1 used to color the tablets?

Then we have all the possible things which could go wrong (may lead to death….). Maybe some of these things have really happened, which begs the question why any sane person would take this stuff, anyway

The voiceover, is, of course, primarily intended to cover the drugmaker’s posterior. It is probably written by lawyers and, I guess, a necessary evil, but it casts a shadow over the spirit of good news (Well, we can’t have everything). Fortunately it is delivered quite rapidly, and there s no quiz afterwards. We are redirected to the optimistic wrapup (“going for my best. For Eliquis!”).

And so it goes. The good news is not completely free, of course. These commercials cost about 4.5 billion dollars annually, industrywide, which could be used for, maybe, R&D, or lowering the cost for these expensive meds. Maybe this is “why we science”!

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