Monday, November 9, 2009

Drug Industry Influence (is this subtle?)

This morning I had a doctor's appointment - (I am fine!)

I usually entertain thoughts of blog postings early in the day so that in the evening I will have a focus for writing. I was actually thinking maybe there would be a magazine or newspaper in the lobby that would get my attention when I noticed a wall board with the heading Healthy Advice.

There were eight pamphlet holders on the wall board and each had some literature. Two of the slots held coupons for CEREAL with the suggestion that by eating these cereals, Cheerios and Fiber One or some thing like that, you could lower your cholesterol. [ I believe that this is one of the health claims that is currently being evaluated. Not because what you eat and what you do are not important, but because letting someone with high cholesterol think that a bowl of Cheerios will keep their arteries from clogging is dangerous.]

Then there was a pamphlet about a medication that could treat your OAB. Yes, you know, you name the disease, make a cute acronym for it, create a pill and then sell the hell out of it. The acronym stands for Overactive Bladder.

Another pamphlet promoted Yaz for your birth control needs, while Sally Field smiled at me from a Boniva brochure. Next to Sally was one for a drug called Evista that has something to do with breast cancer, though I read on the front of the pamphlet that Evista doesn't prevent or treat it (?) Oh I get it. Some times being treated for breast cancer can put you at risk for osteoporosis and this drug can help with treatment related osteoporosis. AH....

Then there is the ubiquitous Lipitor, perhaps the best selling drug in the world. [an article at states that last year the world wide sales were over 12 billion and 7 billion of that 12 was from the USA]

And there was something about an antacid, but the name of the pill was not on the cover of the pamphlet and I did not OPEN any of these :)

There was one about Insulin. Apparently, too many diabetics have switched to the newer drugs and sales for good old insulin must be down. The healthy advice on this pamphlet encouraged people to "rediscover" insulin.

Oh, the drug I railed about in a recent post had a pamphlet too. Trilipix. This is another cholesterol lowering medication that is also supposed to raise HDL and lower triglycerides. This drug is meant to be taken with another statin drug, oh, I think that Lipitor is a statin!! Anyway, the reason I got myself in a knot was that the outcome, reduced heart attack or heart attack death, was NOT changed by adding this drug which does bring side effects to the party.

Is that eight?

THEN, in the bathroom there was a cup that held markers (WHY? You had to ask. I am guessing it is to write your name on your pee cup, but since I was not there for THAT I am only assuming this to be so) Anyways, the cup said, Lexapro. Lexapro is an antidepressant.

I had to look hard for something in the exam room, which comforted me. But there it was, the little knee knocker tool - it said Bextra. Ah Bextra, you went the way of Vioxx because people who take you DIE - apparently its a good knee knocker, but I wasn't there for that either!

And that is all about my enlightening visit to a primary care office. Oh, then there was the TV, and lucky for them - I only got to see the part about replacing whole milk with skim milk and butter for olive oil before they called my name, because you KNOW , the next part would be how you should take a drug when those things didn't lower your cholesterol!! [because on the frame of the TV were those same words, Healthy Advice. Anyone want to wager on WHO bought that TV?]

I wear me out ... but I already know what tomorrows blog will be so everyone else is safe for another day.

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