Friday, May 6, 2011

first one's free

Remember that?

The first one's free.

That's how they get you, right?
the drug dealers?

Isn't that what our parents and authority figures told us about drugs?

How evil they were,
how evil the dealers who
all they wanted
was your money
even if it destroyed your life.

They would tell you how good it was,
how much better it could,
would make you feel.

They would give it to you free and want you to tell your friends.

They would make you


I know I told you that I watch soap operas during the day when I work. And I can't believe that they are losing their audience for reality TV. Reality TV can not compare with the shit that happens on soap operas.

Anyway, one of the things you are subjected to when watching daytime TV is ads for pharmaceuticals.

I do not like that pharmaceutical companies can advertise their products on TV. Their prescribed products. 'Tell your doctor...' is the common thread. We will convince you that you really need our designer drug for which there is no cheap generic.

The pity is that if you tell your doctor you want it, he will probably give it to you. Without question.

OK, what just happened here?

Did a doctor diagnose an ailment and then prescribe the drug he thought best?

Um, no.

He's probably already got a drawer full of free samples from the pharmaceutical salesman. And people wonder what's wrong with our healthcare system. Sure, try it, see if it works. Yeah, it's expensive.


You know what really gets me about the pharmaceutical companies and these ads?

The first one's free.


  1. OH, so true Ellen, so true.

    What is driving me nuts now is that there are shortages of medicines necessary for the treatment of some forms of leukemia and some emergency room patients because big Pharma doesn't want to make them because they are not cost leaders - the plants where these drugs are made have fallen in disrepair and the components are not readily available because the smaller companies that make them can't afford it. So people are dying.

    When I was discharged from the hospital I had a prescription for 2 pills. TWO. They cost us 208 dollars. For two pills. They were basically an antibiotic that I could've been given something else for, but surprise! The doc' gave me that.

    [Sorry, this was long - it is a hot point for me.]

    Yep, the first one is free. You have it so right.

  2. Side effects may include, dry mouth, hair loss, vaginal warts, or in some extreme cases, your head may explode.

    I'm with you sister.

  3. well, that was very thought provoking!
    Wonderfully writing & punched me in the gut with the powerful last sentence.
    Bravo Ellen, this was a great post!

  4. oooh year I completely agree with you and its sickening! I talked to a server we had in a restaurant one day....she was close to graduating as a pharma sales rep. She was telling us how much money was in it and blah blah blah. She went on to say that both the reps and the dr's get kickbacks from the drugs they prescrib. That's why they hand them out to patients like's so messed up and when and how did this all go so wrong?!?

  5. Oh man, there is SO much wrong with our health care system...gaaahhh...I guess that I should be glad that we are in some kind of national turmoil over this, and that it remains in the public eye.

    I hate it that the soap operas are going down and I never even had a chance to get addicted. I feel cheated somehow. I bet they come back.

  6. Great post Ellen.

    Luckily our health care system doesn't work this way (yet)

    Here it's all about how much it will cost the NHS.

    I am just thankful that I am blessed with good health etc

    I belong to the school that thinks soaps gave birth to the current genration of nutters who live their lives as the stars of Reality TV - they watched so muchof them they actually think its normal to behave like that!

  7. Astute observation, and you're dead on right.

  8. OMG! You are so right. I never thought about it like that!!

  9. Gah, I can't watch the evening news without enduring 547 drug ads. And my own doctor--who I am about to dump--is quick to prescribe expensive pills that I end up not using. I don't like taking anything I don't really REALLY need.

    On the other hand, if you have something that will make the world warm and fuzzy for an hour or three...

  10. I agree!

    VERY well said!!!

  11. Ellen did you hear the latest ... I'm going to break it to you, get ready ... Now the talk is a Katie Couric talk show will replace General Hospital.

  12. I like your examples.Hey doc I feeling a little down so fix me up. Oh, and since we are on that subject how about a little of this and that I have seen on TV. LOL My insurance keeps me generic, and my doc would just laugh.

  13. Bullseye!
    Great post. Seem that Big Pharma is more interested in our collective erection than our real health. So that we can reproduce THIS? EFH

  14. Those ads are really manipulative - and surreal. The part that always creeps me out is the "side effects" part, where happy people are out in a canoe or riding their bikes in a beautiful landscape while the voice or small print informs you that "side effects" include seizures, heart attacks, cancerous growths and insanity.

    "Side effect" is pharmaceutical jargon for "effects you would prefer not to experience but that can be part of what happens when you use the drug."

    Side effects? How clever.

  15. We opened the door to them and look what has happened! We don't need to guess about what pill we need. We need a qualified doctor and a professional pharmacist. Self medication is wrong.

  16. We're a strange country. On one hand we have all these laws against certain kinds of drugs (Did until Marijuana started getting legalized.) and then we have all these prescription drugs. What's the difference again?

    I'm not exactly sure what the solution is. I wish they'd left Marijuana illegal, but I must be in the minority. We need to have a way to ease people's pain. I'm not against that. I just don't think you should be taking something just because you're stressed out. Everyone is stressed out. Of course, I won't mention my addiction to Bejeweled Blitz because, you know, I'm perfect:)

  17. I truly dislike these type of ads. They are so harmful, specially to the elderly who don't have many friends. They spend all that time in front of a TV and buy anything they can afford, and it it's free, well...

    On a different Happy Mother's Day m'luv. Will you get to do all kinds of fun things today?

  18. What's interesting to me is that the primary drugs they push are for depression and male enhancement. That's enough to depress anyone!

  19. I remember a big to-do about those ads when they first started airing, for the very reasons you mention
    but the lobbyists carry on and get their way

  20. I always ask for the tried and true generics. Have you also noticed that along with all the ads for drugs are the ads fro attorneys asking you to participate in class-action lawuits against one drug or another?

  21. Not a scenario with which I am at all familiar.
    My doctor would ask where exactly I studied medicine if I suggested treatments to her.

    Daytime TV is not something I have any knowledge of nowadays. The only time I ever watched was when I had a broken leg; lots of ads were for legal offices who offered to sue people for negligence for you. Did they know the audience was laid up with accidental damage?

    One way or another, the buggers will get you.

  22. Ellen- Kudos to you for bringing this up. I've always thought this advertising so bazaar. Imagine how physicians must feel.
    Excellent post! ;)

  23. You are so right about this, Ellen. I hate drug commercials and always mute them. Since I work in the medical field, I see this every day, all day. The drug reps, the doctors, the drugs, and the drug companies. They are all in cahoots and it's truly a vicious cycle. It's all about BIG money!

  24. Great point. I have never seen an ad like it... but that's maybe what's good about living in a bubble!!

  25. This is what makes me glad that we don't have such advertising on British TV. But go into a chemist's shop over here, and it's difficult to buy a straightforward, non-branded, product. Because it will make you feel so much better if you pay ten times the price.

  26. Me too. And the fact that they add all the possible side affects as if they are nothing in the commercials. Death sometimes occurs... WHAT?

  27. I hate pharma ads and doctors who kneejerk pass stuff out but...I'm always amazed at the number of Americans who simply put their lives in the hands of the healthcare industry and never question ANYthing. They don't ask about cost, they don't ask "what does this medicine do that a cheaper generic won't?" they don't research their conditions and look for alternative treatments or research protocols that might help. They simply follow doctor's orders.

    I once challenged an $85/DAY bill for a heating pad during a hospital stay and surprised the hell out of the hospital's business office. "Why do you care?" the clerk asked, "Your insurance is covering it." She told me that the only people who usually even check the bill are the ones paying it themselves.

    That is one big reason why healthcare is so screwed up in this country. Challenge--don't just accept that the first one is free and take it. Find out what you're putting into your body, for heaven's sake, and if there's a better solution. If not, get all the samples you can.

    And if your doctor gets mad when you challenge...get another doctor.

  28. All true...and so very sad....


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.