Bewildered Boomer — Didn’t medicine seem easier to manage back in the day? | Opinion


By Steve Moseley

Time was if you had somethin’ hittin’ against somethin’ in there health wise – you were sick or broken in other words – you went to the doctor, did what he or she said to do and took the pills you were given.

“But Mose, we still do that today,” you say? Well yes… kinda sorta.

Way back before mass media marketing, drug company salesmen – ‘drug reps’ in medical parlance – called routinely upon doctors. To get their pills into patients and thus the cash register, these well-informed gentlemen and ladies were required first to sell the physician on the merit of their wares. The key to success was to sell ‘Doc’ on the benefits so he or she would write scripts for their mega-corporation’s array of pills instead of the competing mega-corporation’s array of pills.

If these in-person marketers fetched lunch from a nice restaurant sufficient to feed the entire clinic staff, all the better. Don’t harm done.

People are also reading…

I am sure that still goes on; however I sense a whole new strategy to prescription drug peddling these days.

What they do, see, is bury us in television and magazine spots trumpeting specific medications by name. Trumpeting them not to medical professionals, oh no, directly to the consumer. That’s you and me folks.

Because I have pondered, weak and weary, over these constant haranguing commercials, and also being retired with naught but a newly-bolted hip and the television to keep me company, I took to jotting down the names of a few of these drugs.

The narrator describes the symptoms of the selected malady, with folks on the screen who seem oddly similar to you in age, lifestyle and demographics, pitching the chosen miracle call.

Without fail these little 30-second skits will, at some point, exhort you and me to “Ask your doctor about …” this pill or that one by brand name.

See that? They just hopped right over the learned man or woman of medicine with the hard-won doctorate and conscripted you for their sales team. Clever, huh? And you didn’t even notice, did you? Come on now, be honest.

The names turn out to be as fascinating as they are indecipherable.

Allow me to share a few.

We begin with RYBELSUS, DUPLIXENT and KISQUALI, then scurry to include LINZESS, ENTRESTO, VYVGART, QUELBREE and QULIPTA.

Do not interrupt me, please, we are just getting started.

Leqvio, BREZTRI, CIBINQO, TEPEZZA and CAPLYTA make up our random next set, followed by Skyrizi, MAVYRET, COSENTYX, FASENRA and OPDIVO + YERVOY. A 2-for-1 drug is a fantastic value I bet.

And we dare not omit Otezla, Myfembree, Zantac and ELIQUIS, dare we?

At last we come to the notorious XIAFLEX. Thanks to tactlessly scheduled 6 pm news hour commercials on KOLN/KGIN (and others possibly) even little kids can now learn how wonderfully XIAFLEX works to (gotta be delicate here) ‘straighten’ bent carrots.

That’s it for my wee, quirky list.

Good Wife Norma was once in the employ of a brilliant, yet by some miracle grounded-in-common-sense orthopedic surgeon, who absolutely despised this sales tactic. And why not? Imagine patients coming to you bearing a load of pre-conceived opinions, minds already made up about the treatment they require of you. It had to be grating for one possessed of a real medical degree and the whole works, to be bludgeoned daily about some drug or other the patient professes to know everything about based on a half-minute tutorial on the tube?

Doesn’t that seem a bit bass-backwards?

Thanks for listening. Be sure to tune in next week when we’ll hear Mose say, “Hey guys, just for giggles let’s probe the depths of their worst and most horrific side effects.”

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