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Pharmaceuticals & Our Culture
Posted: 14 May 2008 06:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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macgyver - 14 May 2008 01:22 PM

I’m with Squid all the way on this. I think most physicians would be quite happy if all direct to consumer advertising was stopped, but that’s never going to happen because pharmaceutical companies see it as a way to get around the gatekeeper ( doctors) to encourage patients to use their product.

The lax regulation of the FDA adds to the problem, allowing ads for ‘Japanese foot pads that have been used for thousands of years, remove the toxins from your body while you sleep’ and ‘take liver rite liver aide to detoxify your liver’ and ‘pills that enlarge that certain part of the male anatomy (wink, wink)’ are aired with the same weight as medications that actually work. I’m with you on this, I don’t think any of these companies should be allowed to advertise. The FDA should do the job they were set up to do and regulate the industry.

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Posted: 14 May 2008 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I can only second and third and fourth oldsquid, macgyver, and asanta’s comments. I would add that the FDA is hamstrung by the politicians who determine its funding and responsibilities. These are currently very well lobbied by the altmed industry, and they often have a “faith-based” approach to reasoning that is sympathetic to altmed claims without evidence. Better marketing of science is vital, and stronger lobbying of politicans by the “reality-based” community is urgently needed. That’s us, guys! grin

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Posted: 14 May 2008 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Peppermint,

As an early childhood educator, I often see children who are energetic, have sensory sensitivities, are highly spirited or strong-willed—both girls and boys.  Teachers and parents need information about child development, support from experts and peers, and practical skills and strategies in order to mitigate challenging behavior, whether this behavior stems from a diagnosis or not.  When parents turn to medications, in my experience it is because traditional methods of behavioral modification have been proven to be ineffective with their particular child and the child appears to be suffering or unable to function in their daily life.   

As a parent with a child who has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (among other things), I’ve been advised several times to consider medications to help him cope.  My husband and I haven’t pursued this option yet for a variety of reasons—the main reason being that we observe how he learns more and more coping mechanisms as his brain continues to develop.  With this development comes increased impulse control and the ability to emotionally self-regulate, two key factors in predicting the success of his day. 

However, we certainly pursue whatever additional strategies we can to help him succeed, including a variety of therapies—some that have clinically proven results, many that don’t.  And we watch him each year to see if his skills are improving or if he might need some extra help.  We certainly haven’t ruled out medications in the future if we exhaust other options and we see that he is still suffering.  Of course, we realize that medications come with side effects and have seen many of our friends experiment with ritalin (among others) with mixed results.  While some symptoms do dissipate, new issues and concerns may appear.

Your post paints parents in a very negative light, assuming that they don’t love or care about their children.  You are basing your assumptions on your babysitting experiences, calling parents “lazy”, and assuming that parents can go out and get a prescription for ritalin because their child is “bored” at school doing menial tasks.  To balance your experiences, mine as a parent and teacher have reflected a different reality—one that is a heartbreaking journey through the world of learning differences in the absence of clear clinical research.

Vanessa

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Posted: 14 May 2008 07:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Survery from the KFF regarding direct to consumer advertising.

http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/7774.pdf

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Posted: 15 May 2008 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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mckenzievmd - 14 May 2008 07:26 PM

I can only second and third and fourth oldsquid, macgyver, and asanta’s comments. I would add that the FDA is hamstrung by the politicians who determine its funding and responsibilities. These are currently very well lobbied by the altmed industry, and they often have a “faith-based” approach to reasoning that is sympathetic to altmed claims without evidence. Better marketing of science is vital, and stronger lobbying of politicans by the “reality-based” community is urgently needed. That’s us, guys! grin

It seems that whenever I see quackery pushed on the television, there is always a ‘Doctor’  in the commercial to add an air of respectability that seems to be unnecessary with the true pharmaceuticals that are also being pushed via commercials. When most people see the title ‘doctor’ they assume medical. When I see ‘doctor’ I (and probably oldsquid, mckenzievmd, and macgyver as well), want to know in which field he has his (and it is almost always a man) credentials. Does he have a doctorate in English? paper filing? And if he IS a medical doctor, is he credentialed in a field related to the medications he is trying to push? Has he published in reputable journals? Etc, etc!

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Posted: 15 May 2008 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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asanta - 15 May 2008 01:37 AM

  Etc, etc!

And by whom he is paid?
And is he really a doctor?
Etc, etc!

GdB

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Posted: 15 May 2008 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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asanta - 15 May 2008 01:37 AM

It seems that whenever I see quackery pushed on the television, there is always a ‘Doctor’  in the commercial to add an air of respectability that seems to be unnecessary with the true pharmaceuticals that are also being pushed via commercials. When most people see the title ‘doctor’ they assume medical. When I see ‘doctor’ I (and probably oldsquid, mckenzievmd, and macgyver as well), want to know in which field he has his (and it is almost always a man) credentials. Does he have a doctorate in English? paper filing? And if he IS a medical doctor, is he credentialed in a field related to the medications he is trying to push? Has he published in reputable journals? Etc, etc!

It seems in most cases the person is not a doctor of any sort but mearly an actor playing a doctor. The thing that really boils my blood are the Sunday morning infomercials on the radio that are designed to sound like a real interview with a real doctor. usually they have one of the stations regular radio hosts that the listeners are all familiar playing the shill as they pose leading questions to a “doctor” who is hawking some bogus “detoxifier” or “bowel cleanser”. There is very little effort after the first 30 seconds of the show to make it clear to listeners that this is a paid commercial and that the doctor is not an MD ( although MD’s can and certainly have promoted questionable products too). I have investigated some of these “doctors” and found out most of them have questionable doctorate degrees ( not MD degrees) from Correspondence schools. This is something where the FDA should really crack down. I have called a few of these companies to ask for copies of the studies they claim to have done, but I usually just get hung up on at that point, or they offer to have someone call me back. Of course no one ever does.

[ Edited: 15 May 2008 06:58 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 15 May 2008 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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OldSquid - 14 May 2008 07:53 PM

Survery from the KFF regarding direct to consumer advertising.

http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/7774.pdf

Thanks for the link Squid. Look at this quote directly from the poll.

” Two-thirds of the public agrees that prescription drug advertisements educate people about available treatments and encourage them to get help for medical conditions they might not have been aware of”

Most of the drugs advertised on TV are for things like impotence, incontinence, and allergies. Do we need to be encouraging people to get prescriptions for such conditions if they were not even aware they had them.

When healthy 20 year old men start asking for Viagra ( and I have had such requests) you know we have a problem.

I know this is a bit off topic, but I never quite understood why insurance companies got into the business of paying for viagra anyway. Isn’t this a recreational drug?? They don’t cover medicine to help you quit smoking, but at $11/pill they will help you have sex. Also, they are willing to pay up to $20,000 per patient for in-vitro fertilization to help you get pregnant, but won’t pay $30/month for a generic birth control pill to help you not get pregnant. Does that seem the least bit illogical to anyone but me? It seems we are a bit fixated on having sex and making babies when we should be concentrating on being healthy and controlling the population. We could save a lot of money and maybe some lives if we would just get more rational about what medications and services we cover and what we don’t. Anyway, That’s a topic for another discussion.

[ Edited: 15 May 2008 08:31 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 15 May 2008 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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macgyver - 15 May 2008 07:07 AM
OldSquid - 14 May 2008 07:53 PM

Survery from the KFF regarding direct to consumer advertising.

http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/7774.pdf

Thanks for the link Squid. Look at this quote directly from the poll.

” Two-thirds of the public agrees that prescription drug advertisements educate people about available treatments and encourage them to get help for medical conditions they might not have been aware of”

Most of the drugs advertised on TV are for things like impotence, incontinence, and allergies. Do we need to be encouraging people to get prescriptions for such conditions if they were not even aware they had them.

When healthy 20 year old men start asking for Viagra ( and I have had such requests) you know we have a problem.

I know this is a bit off topic, but I never quite understood why insurance companies got into the business of paying for viagra anyway. Isn’t this a recreational drug?? They don’t cover medicine to help you quit smoking, but at $11/pill they will help you have sex. Also, they are willing to pay up to $20,000 per patient for in-vitro fertilization to help you get pregnant, but won’t pay $30/month for a generic birth control pill to help you not get pregnant. Does that seem the least bit illogical to anyone but me? It seems we are a bit fixated on having sex and making babies when we should be concentrating on being healthy and controlling the population. We could save a lot of money and maybe some lives if we would just get more rational about what medications and services we cover and what we don’t. Anyway, That’s a topic for another discussion.

If Big Pharma wants to “educate” the public then support a PBS show on the topic and not producing a paid ad.  What gets me is when there’s and ad for something like Requip or Enbrel.  I mean a very small portion of the population has indications that would be treated by these medications.

I’m pretty sure my company pays for Viagra and smoking sessation smoking cessation.  We do not pay for in-vitro or BCP’s.  Viagra and other ED drugs are being moved to a new “lifestyle” rider along with PPI’s.  We only pay for six pills a month for Viagra.  My personal opinion about all of this is insurance companies should cover medications that promote or assist in normal functioning of the body.  A normal body function is to be able to have sex and procreate the species.  Covering ED drugs assists in this while BCP’s do not.

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Posted: 15 May 2008 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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macgyver - 15 May 2008 07:07 AM

When healthy 20 year old men start asking for Viagra ( and I have had such requests) you know we have a problem.

Have you noticed that all of the men complaining of impotence in the Viagra commercials are all a very young middle aged(with a ‘babe’ on his arm)? There are NO commercials showing an 80 year old man and his wife discussing Viagra! Why? Because of our schizoid approach to sex! We don’t want to acknowledge our great grand parents as sexually active beings.

macgyver - 15 May 2008 07:07 AM

I know this is a bit off topic, but I never quite understood why insurance companies got into the business of paying for viagra anyway. Isn’t this a recreational drug?? They don’t cover medicine to help you quit smoking, but at $11/pill they will help you have sex. Also, they are willing to pay up to $20,000 per patient for in-vitro fertilization to help you get pregnant, but won’t pay $30/month for a generic birth control pill to help you not get pregnant. Does that seem the least bit illogical to anyone but me? It seems we are a bit fixated on having sex and making babies when we should be concentrating on being healthy and controlling the population. We could save a lot of money and maybe some lives if we would just get more rational about what medications and services we cover and what we don’t. Anyway, That’s a topic for another discussion.

Last night I was reading an nursing article that offered CEUs. I like to take pride in practicing evidence based treatments. I want to see the studies and research done to prove the efficacy of the treatments I provide. I’m very disheartened to find that after presenting all of the problems and appropriate treatments for the condition, to find homeopathy and acupuncture was listed as effective alternatives for the treatment (of severe allergies), this is misleading,dangerous, confusing and downright irresponsible, and I WILL be contacting the publisher.

[ Edited: 15 May 2008 01:20 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 15 May 2008 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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vanessa - 14 May 2008 07:43 PM

Peppermint,

As an early childhood educator, I often see children who are energetic, have sensory sensitivities, are highly spirited or strong-willed—both girls and boys.  Teachers and parents need information about child development, support from experts and peers, and practical skills and strategies in order to mitigate challenging behavior, whether this behavior stems from a diagnosis or not.  When parents turn to medications, in my experience it is because traditional methods of behavioral modification have been proven to be ineffective with their particular child and the child appears to be suffering or unable to function in their daily life.   

As a parent with a child who has been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (among other things), I’ve been advised several times to consider medications to help him cope.  My husband and I haven’t pursued this option yet for a variety of reasons—the main reason being that we observe how he learns more and more coping mechanisms as his brain continues to develop.  With this development comes increased impulse control and the ability to emotionally self-regulate, two key factors in predicting the success of his day. 

However, we certainly pursue whatever additional strategies we can to help him succeed, including a variety of therapies—some that have clinically proven results, many that don’t.  And we watch him each year to see if his skills are improving or if he might need some extra help.  We certainly haven’t ruled out medications in the future if we exhaust other options and we see that he is still suffering.  Of course, we realize that medications come with side effects and have seen many of our friends experiment with ritalin (among others) with mixed results.  While some symptoms do dissipate, new issues and concerns may appear.

Your post paints parents in a very negative light, assuming that they don’t love or care about their children.  You are basing your assumptions on your babysitting experiences, calling parents “lazy”, and assuming that parents can go out and get a prescription for ritalin because their child is “bored” at school doing menial tasks.  To balance your experiences, mine as a parent and teacher have reflected a different reality—one that is a heartbreaking journey through the world of learning differences in the absence of clear clinical research.

Vanessa

You’re 100% right: many parents love, care and worry for their children’s well being. They work hard and put immeasurable effort into guiding their babies to be happy and healthy. I wasn’t assuming (I know many amazing parents), I was being critical because I have seen some of the worst and it obviously really bothers me.

Without a doubt you care very much about your child! Your immaculate love and care is so great, but unfortuneatly not every child is as lucky to have a parent like you. For every good case there is a bad case in mixing children with brain chemical-altering drugs.

Adjusting development and impulse control do not mix with amphetamines, in my experience.

As for anxiety, I have been diagnosed with this as well and I share empathy in the challenges you must face every day. You should be proud smile

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Posted: 20 May 2008 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Time to Ban Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Marketing

Kurt C. Stange, MD, PhD, Editor
Annals of Family Medicine


It is time to ban direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs. The current US system of pharmaceutical company self-monitoring and Food and Drug Administration oversight is not working. Moreover, it cannot realistically be expected to work. A ban is needed to protect the public’s health and the quality of health care. ...

Please avoid posting entire—or substantially entire—articles under copyright. The article can be linked to here:

http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/5/2/101

dougsmith—Admin

[ Edited: 20 May 2008 10:07 AM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 20 May 2008 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/full/5/2/101

[ Edited: 20 May 2008 10:07 AM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 20 May 2008 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Prescription drugs are not advertised very much at all on TV or in the media I read in Australia.  I’m not sure why.

Over the counter medications are advertised, but not overly so.  I don’t watch much commercial TV or read the popular media, however, so my view could be distorted.  Alternative remedies are sometimes advertised - vitamins and remedies for prostate come to mind in terms things I’ve seen recently.

The pharmaceutical companies target the doctors - free dinners, paying for conferences, entertainment and other financial benefits.  I have a feeling that even this practice is being investigated now.  There was an article about in the Melbourne ‘Age’ newspaper a few months ago.

I personally feel that our culture encourages the ‘quick fix’.

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Posted: 18 June 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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When faced with an addiction I first turned to my doctor and was given 2 prescriptions.  A few months later I had 3 addictions instead of one and had to enroll into a Medical Detox program to taper off of the meds.  I finally beat my addiction through a Drug Addiction Treatment Program and discovered what lead me to my addictions in the first place.  It would be nice if we could always have an “easy fix”, but it takes effort and work to get down to the real reasons why we do things.  A lot of people that I went through Medical Detox with were on more pharmaceuticals than I was.  The whole ordeal was rather expensive and I wish I would have known that from the beginning.

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