Monday, March 20, 2006


(61) Pharm-Aid

Will someone please help the poor pharmaceutical companies?

These sorry folk have dug themselves into a horrible and expensive hole.

No, it’s not the price of research or taking your doctor to lunch every three months. It’s not the cost of distributing samples or forcing prices up in the US so they can force them down, off shore.

It’s certainly not lack of money.

It’s the television ads.

Here we are bopping along in a pretty-picture commercial promising us a good night’s sleep.

“Take Socrates and enjoy a good night’s sleep,” intones the announcer, Oozin’ Susan, who sounds more like phone sex than pitchwoman.

While she’s saying stuff like that, you see a guy sleeping with a smile on his face. Or a woman. Sometimes even a couple – but they’re not actually touching.

Butterflies alight here and there. Dreamy music plays in the background, and all the while, Oozin’ is cruisin’ along with her narration.

But at some point, Oozin’ has to sit up straight and tell you:

“All sleep medications can be habit forming. Side effects include serious stroke risk, foul breath, itching toes and in rare cases, death. So talk to your doctor before taking Socrates, and make sure it’s right for you. (slouches back in her chair, hugs the microphone and oozes) So wake up refreshed and energetic, take Socrates tonight.”

There’s no way in the time allowed for a buffer between the opening ooze, the disclaimers and warnings and the closing ooze. The center part is the disease we’ve come to call Socratitis.

We have to help these people.

Situation is the same in pitching Medicaid drug plans.

Oozin’ doesn’t do this one, Oil Can Harry does.

Oil can has a grey comb-over a chalk white moustache and is dressed like the rest of the old goats who lunch at the golf club three days a week.

He strolls out from a stack of prescription bottles, each big enough for a day’s worth of water for a family of ten, holds up a regular size version and promises us that his company will cut the confusion down to size.


No one knows how part D works. Not even the people who invented it. ESPECIALLY not the people who invented it.

But Oil Can is assuring us he’ll cut the red tape if we just give his 800 number a call and sign up. Friendly operators will even fill out the paperwork for you “…right on the phone.”

This disease is catching. Even aspirin, simple, plain-old aspirin has caught it. They can sell the stuff for headaches and other pains. But when they get into the heart attack prevention aspect, they get Socratitis: “Aspirin isn’t for everyone, so check with your doctor blah blah blah.

The next substance we can freely abuse will be those cereals that say they lower cholesterol. They haven’t caught the disease yet. But you can see the day coming when they picture a table full of kids having breakfast and in the background someone is chirping “Oatmeal isn’t for everyone, so be sure to check with your doctor. Side effects include a sinking feeling in your stomach and bowl crust that you can’t remove with a blow torch. So have a Cheery Morning and control your cholesterol with our warm and friendly cereal.”

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2006

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