Every so often I’m compelled to complain about advertising. On network TV, I watch only the news, some PBS, and occasionally Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, so I’m spared most of the advertising. But they seem to really run the pharmaceutical commercials between six and eight in the evening. Is it because that’s the demographic for that time slot – old, absent-minded folks?
Prevagen, Prevagen, and more Prevagen. Does that stuff really work? A lot of old people figure, “What have I got to lose?” Mom always wanted to buy the “miracle products” she saw on TV. “Maybe that stuff for the eyes would help my macular degeneration.” “Don’t you think the eye doctor would prescribe something if there was anything that could help?”
There are countless sprays, creams and patches to ease aching backs and joints. Over-the-counter (OTC) and mail-order medications are a huge business. I have no issues with former prescription products that are now available OTC, and in generic versions. These medications were prescribed for years, and we know that they work. And it’s convenient not to have to see the Doc when you already know what you need. And it’s cheaper.
I remember paying a fortune for a little bottle of prescription Rogaine (minoxidil) decades ago, back when I had a tiny bald spot. Although it seemed to work, it was just too costly and a nuisance to keep it up. Male-pattern baldness is not covered by health insurance. Now you can get a big bottle for a lot less, and with no prescription. But it only works for those small spots, and I need a complete scalp transplant at this stage. Luckily, my wife likes me bald.
Between six and eight, you can find enough products to cure you of just about everything. Many sophisticated ads for prescription drugs leave me clueless as to what they are prescribed for. I have figured out that some are related to cancer. And I never imagined that so many folks suffer from gastrointestinal problems, along with painful knees, hips and shoulders. Most of the folks in these commercials appear to be in their thirties, forties and fifties. I don’t recall being in such bad shape way back then.
Companies advertise prescription drugs to get folks to ask their doctors why they aren’t taking the medicine they see on TV. Some physicians just give in and write a script to make their patients happy (ie, get them off of their backs.)
There are lots of products sold by mail that are supposed to give you a full head of hair. And don’t forget all those weight loss panaceas – drugs, diets, prepared meals and apps for your phone. All interspersed between countless cell phone provider ads.
I love YouTube, but since I’m too cheap to pay for the “commercial-free” version, I have to put up with the occasional commercials. Often you can skip them after a few seconds, but what really irks me, is the brain-crushing volume of most of the commercials. Right in the middle of a relaxing piece of music – “Let me list your house” blasts from my speakers. I’ve enabled the setting on my TV that is supposed to keep this from happening – but to no avail. I have to keep my finger on the remote’s mute button. What a pain.
I recall there were regulations enacted long ago that limited the volume of commercials. If they’re still in effect, they must only apply to the networks. Maybe a “hearing loss” class-action lawsuit is in order. However, I’m retired. But I’ll happily be a member of the class. Let me know.
Corky Pickering and his wife relocated from the Bay Area to Cottonwood in 2014. He recently retired from the federal government as an attorney advising law enforcement. He has been a rock and roll bass player and a Marine JAG. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.