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Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

So looking up drug ad pictures for my last post, I came across this (via AdFreak):

Vintage Drug Ad, Mornidine

I can’t read the small type, but the gist seems to be: “Is your wife too depressed to cook you breakfast? Pump her full of uppers, and you’ll have eggs and bacon again in no time!”

[Not that I’d really object if anyone wanted to provide me with a steady supply of uppers. In fact, I’d probably cook you breakfast if you did. Huh. Maybe they were onto something here].

More great vintage drug ads here. My second-favorite is probably an ad for barbituates that pictures a man hovering over his conked-out wife, with the text, “When crisis demands quick-acting hypnotics.” Drug your wife, obviously.

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Vintage Drug Ad
The good old days of drug advertising

Does this seem like a ridiculous waste of time to anyone else?

Federal regulators plan to study whether relaxing, upbeat images featured in TV drug ads distract consumers from warnings about the drugs’ risks.

Of course they do. That’s the point. The good news is, consumers — distracted by that cute little Zoloft bubble or those evergreen hills that represent the vitality of the old couple’s newly viagra’d sex life – can’t just ignore the risk warnings completely and then run out and buy the drug. They have to go to a doctor. The doctor will tell them the risks. The doctor will refuse to prescribe the drug if the risks are too great. Rendering the question of whether or not the TV ads are distractingly upbeat just about moot.

[We should really start keeping a tally on which agency spends more time and money investigating banal/ridiculous things, the FDA or the FCC?]


Too Distracting

One ad for Eli Lilly & Co.’s impotence drug Cialis features a middle-age couple returning from shopping while smooth jazz plays in the background. Toward the ad’s end, a male voice lists common side effects, including headache, back pain and muscle aches.

“If advertisers were really interested in getting information about drug risks out, they’d show pictures of those problems, but you almost never see that,” said Sidney Wolfe of the advocacy group Public Citizen, which frequently criticizes drug-industry marketing.

Sigh. This is kind of like the people who insist that if junk food companies are going to advertise to kids they should also tell kids to eat broccoli or something like that (Eat Fruity Pebbles – but it may rot your teeth and has no nutritional value and make sure to get 7 servings of fruits and vegetables in per day as well!). Do these people completely fail to grasp the point of marketing? You can’t compel companies to advertise in ways that betray their own interests; if so, they’ll simply stop advertising. And advertising is an essential part of our economy. Sure, we have a compelling national interest, I’d say, to make sure ads are factually accurate and not overwhelming misleading, especially when we’re dealing with drugs or food or other things that affect people’s health. But it’s kind of silly to expect advertisers to actively dissuade people from purchasing or using their product.
Vintage Drug Ad
Of course, maybe I'm just writing this because I'm a secret operative for the pharmaceutical companies. And you are too distracted by all the aweseome illustrations I've peppered throughout this post to even notice that risk.

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A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that terminally ill patients whose only chance of survival lies in investigational medicines should, essentially, suck it up and wait it out ’til the FDA rules that the drugs are 100 percent without risk.

That makes sense. I mean, if terminally ill patients take some drug without the FDA’s permission, it could be dangerous. They could die. Oh, wait …

Two judges dissented, pointing out the injustice of this situation:

The two dissenters said the ruling ignored the Constitution’s protection for individuals and their right to life, and instead bowed to “a dangerous brand of paternalism” that put the government’s interest first.

The majority, however, says people don’t have the right to “assume risk” that may save their lives unless a regulatory body says they can:

Judge Thomas B. Griffith, writing for the majority, said a right to experimental drugs was not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition. Judge Griffith said the right of self-defense “cannot justify creating a constitutional right to assume any level of risk without regard to the scientific and medical judgment expressed through the clinical testing process.”

Sorry you’re dying, but we have rules and procedures, mind you This is no time for attempts at self-preservation, we have a bureaucracy to run here!

But perhaps I’m making this out to be more clear-cut than it is. The group filed the suit under a 5th Amendment claim, saying that not allowing patients these drugs deprived them their right to life. Perhaps the judges were not so much ruling on whether or not dying patients should be allowed to take test drugs but whether or not they have a constitutional right to do so. One of the judges in the majority noted that this is perhaps a matter better left to Congress than the courts. If these judges in the majority are truly constitutional purists, so be it. I think there are major merits to originalist interpretations. But as one of the dissenters notes:

“In the end, it is startling,” Rogers wrote, that the Constitution has been read to include unnamed “fundamental rights” to marry, to control a child’s education, to have sex in private and to have an abortion, “but the right to save one’s life is left out.”

The group who brought the suit, the Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs, said they’ll appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek apparently makes a habit of writing letters to “troublemakers” in his neighborhood. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an article up about one of those letters because a mother is calling it racist and claims the councilman is threatening to kill her son.

Winston’s mother, Tonya Lewis, said she plans to speak to her attorney, former City Council President George Forbes, about filing a lawsuit against Polensek. She said she also has written a letter to black activist the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Lewis said she views Polensek’s letter as a death threat against her son because the councilman said “he didn’t care which one came first, that he went to jail or the cemetery.”

She also complained that the letter referred to Winston as “dumber than mud,” which she considers a racist remark because mud is black and dirty.

I think the racism claim is extremely thin, if not completely absurd. And it seems clear that the context of the councilman’s “jail or cemetary” comment is less of a threat than a warning about what happens to drug dealers in the long run.

But here’s the part of the article I thought was revealing and pretty much undercuts the mother’s position.

Lewis said her lawyer advised her not to discuss any legal matters involving her son. But she said she does not condone criminal behavior.

“If he did the crime, he has to do the time,” she said. “If he has to go to jail or probation, then that’s what he has to do.”

IF he did the crime? IF he has to go to jail or probation? Is she trying to affect an air of reasonability? Well, it fails miserably beneath the weight of her own suspicion of what her son has been up to.

She wants to make this about her son receiving harshly worded letters from the city councilman, but frankly I appreciate what the councilman is doing. It’s not as if he’s calling press conferences and publicly shaming a private citizen. All the publicity over this is being generated by her complaints, not his.

I like the in-your-face candor of the councilman. I don’t know much about him. Maybe he’s a total ass. I have no idea. But rather than bemoan the psychological, cultural, political, economic, and/or social ills that plague our urban communities and theorize endlessly about root causes and who is to blame, Councilman Polensek confronts the thugs and criminals directly, while they’re commiting their crimes, and says get the @!@#*! out of this neighborhood.

More please.

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Giuliani says cancer patients don’t deserve to be relieved of pain because there exist some people would like to see all marijuana legalized.

Right. That’s logical.

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The more you pursue a higher education, the more likely you are to abandon your faith — at least that’s what conventional wisdom holds.

“Actually we’ve just been wrong about this for quite a while,” said Mark D. Regnerus, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the authors of a new study that suggests students who attend and graduate from college are more likely than others to hold on to their faith.

Ha.

I mean, not that I care much about people holding on to their faith one way or another, but if it’s a blow to the ridiculous stigma of communist secular feminist indoctrination on college campuses, or that universities “were long ago taken over by an elite cadre of latte-quaffing, postmodern, anti-American ultra-liberals” …. well, sweet.

It’s not that colleges necessarily encourage faith, he said, but for all the talk about how intellectuals are out to destroy students’ relationships to their religions and God, the main obstacles to such relationships have to do with maturing and how young people spend their time. “Some kids were bound to lose [their faith] anyway and they do,” Regnerus said. But the evidence suggests that college isn’t responsible.

In fact, it found young adults who didn’t attend college more likely to give up on the whole religion business (76 percent of the non-college group reported a decline in attending religious services, compared to 59 percent of college students). There are obviously a lot of reasons for this difference other than that college somehow magically keeps people religious, but at least it sort of disproves the theory that crazy liberal universities turn everybody into secular humanists as well.

Although unfortunatley this fact — “those who have smoked pot experience more of a drop” in religous attendance — is totally going to get picked up and run with by social conservatives and anti-drug crusaders as some sort of illogical cause-and-effect scenario. Those should be some fun PSAs.

(Says Chad Orzel, “Clearly, militant atheists need to spend less time on education, and more time on the critical task of getting college students stoned and laid. Woo!”)

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I’m in Boston, attending the Internet & Society conference at the Berkman Center tomorrow and Friday. I was perusing the Boston free paper on the metro (which they call “the T” here and which, incidentally, totally sucks compared to the DC metro — more on that later, with photographic evidence. and probably more on the conference later, too. but anyways…), in which I read an article on what seems to be a truly bizarre government crackdown: the war on little plastic tubes full of fake roses.

“The look like novelty items, but they’re not. For sale at convenience stores in Boston are four-inch glass tubes featuring fake mini-roses inside of them. They are crack pipes.”

Well, not necessarily. I may be being naive here, but I highly doubt that EVERYONE who buys these novelty items intends to smoke crack out of them, that they were solely manufactured in order for crackheads to smoke out of, and that all the Boston-area convenience stores that sell them are part of this nefarious plot.

Nonetheless, Boston city councilors are trying to pass a city ordinance banning the sale of these items, with a penalty of $300 for each rose-tube/pipe found in a convenience store.

“As a community, we need to work together on issues of drugs and violence,” said (City Councilor Chuck) Turner. “The business community needs to work with us as well. We have to find many creative ways to lessen the use of drugs.”

Righhhhtttt … because the only reasons people are smoking crack currently in Boston is because of the ready availability of these rose pipes. And they won’t just find other products to make crack pipes out of. And it’s up to convenience store owners to determine and police how people use any of the items they sell …

I know the panic over meth addicts using Sudafed to make the drug has led the common flu remedy to become an over-the-counter product, and there’s currently a trend-panic over “cheese,” the combination of Tylenol PM and Heroin .. but this whole rose/pipe thing just seems especially bizarre. There are about 8-hundred-billion ordinary products that can have more shady, if you will, uses (remember gravity bongs?). Attempts to ban these products (or make them less easily available) in an attempt to curtail illegal drug use is, well, futile at best, and a waste of legislator’s time (and resources) and an unfair intrusion on consumers at worst. Or maybe the other way around. Either way…

**** I guess this whole rose pipe phenomenon is nothing new.

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