(Black Press file photo)

Ricketer Scale: What cures you can kill you

Popping pills for your ‘condition’

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

Although I’ve been watching way too much CNN since Trump was elected, you can relax if you think this is going to turn into a Rickter rant about the state of U.S. politics.

The topic today concerns that other elephant in the room, the pink one with white stripes you may see as one of the 47 side effects of Elefobiphix, a new drug for people who have a fear of being confined in close quarters with a pachyderm.

It seems every time you turn on your television, there’s a pitch for a new drug you didn’t realize you needed, designed to cure an ailment you didn’t know you had.

If you think most of these commercials run during the day because they are targeting seniors like myself, you would be wrong. Based on the appearances of the people appearing in them, it appears that when it comes to carving out new profit margins, the pharmaceutical conglomerates are open to getting every demographic hooked. A personal favourite is a new one that aims to relieve diarrhea and bowel discomfort. One of the long list of side effects is that it may – hold your breath – cause constipation and bowel discomfort. And, it also should only be taken if you don’t suffer from a litany of symptoms or conditions that’s as long as the list of ingredients in the drug.

My advice to anyone thinking of getting that prescription filled is to sit down for a chat with your doctor or dietician about finding a more natural approach to calming your innards in an effort to reduce your runs to the bathroom.

Another thing that irks me is the names they come up with, Entresto being my current favourite of the month. I’m sure the thought process for that decision by the marketing magicians dressed in lab coats is that Entrusto sounded too good to be true. Or, more likely, it had already been patented by the competition to pitch a new elixir for people dealing with trust issues.

The scariest part is the warnings they whisper at high speed at the end of the commercial after they spent the first 50 seconds singing the product’s praises. Sounds to me like what you may wind up with in some cases is way worse than what you were dealing with in the first place.

While I’m in favour of medical research and would like to see cures and treatments for serious health problems, it seems like the drug companies are more interested in eliminating the symptoms for a myriad of common ailments that don’t rank remotely near the need to cure cancer. Many costly prescriptions sound like they’re more aimed at masking the symptoms, as opposed to eliminating whatever’s causing the condition.

At the risk of sounding cynical, perhaps the reasoning behind their approach is that there’s much more money to be made by prescribing something for the long term that will keep you ticking, rather than coming up with a cure for what sent you to the doctor in the first place.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

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