I have been spending an unusually high concentration of my work in the United States lately and as is my somewhat bad habit, I get comfy and turn on the television to kill some time. I am truly fascinated by many things American but their addiction to pharmaceuticals astounds me. Clearly, when I say “their”, I don’t mean “all of them” and I use the word “addiction” with respect to true addiction and what it can do. But really, almost every three to five minute break for commercials must include at least one ad for the latest drug to fix stuff. Even more fascinating is the percentage of these ad’s discalimers and warnings of side effects. Not so surprisingly, there seems to be an equal number of ads from law firms prepared to sue for all the side effects. I swear they are all in it together!
Why do people buy this stuff? Look, drugs that save lives, I get, but most of these ads are for things that the human body ineveitably experiences and they don’t “cure”, they simply obscure the symptoms to make it seem like you’re better. The worst offenders are, to me, diet drugs. Really, these companies take people who are in many respects, vulnerable to their weight issues and in so many cases, desperate for a quick fix and without any moral compunction, hawk the cure! How can these companies sleep at night? You know, I can just feel their answer…we sleep fine, thanks. Here’s a hint; if the side effects take longer to list than the benefits, maybe they’re not a good idea!
Thalidomide, the reason for my having no arms was the original perpetrator! “Pregnant women with morning sickness! Feeling nauseous, dizzy, having trouble sleeping? Guess what? We have the quick fix for you. Okay, your kids may be born missing arms, or legs, or both…but that’s okay, you’ll feel better soon. The best part, and don’t tell anybody about this, we’ll make tons of money on your gulliblity and deny all we’re about is profits”.
Look, I am an entepreneur and respect the free market. I also know that the drug companies don’t force the pills down people’s throats. I also know that a great percentage of pharmaceuticals accomplish positive, even miraculous cures but I am asking consumers to take some time and evaluate whether they “need” these drugs when there are alternative cures.
I am proud to state that I haven’t had a headache medication for seven years. Do I get headaches? Occasionally, although not as often as I used to and to release the pain, I now meditate. When I have joint or muscle pain, my wife gives me healing touch therapy or massage. When I am feeling depressed, I go for a walk or talk to a friend. I am far from perfect…obviously and although I am personally completely okay with having no arms, the idea of what a drug did to me sits very deep in my psyche.
I realize that Americans aren’t the only drug users, it’s everywhere, but I have travelled the planet and the U.S. leads the world in commercialising it. Do me a favour; next time an ad comes on for the latest miracle cure, switch channels, or better yet, promise yourself you won’t get seduced by the marketers who only want one thing…your money. Haven’t you got better things to do with it, and your time?