Watching Medical Ads on TV

CNN seems to make most of its money selling this stuff to older people, its evening news audience. They know their viewers, yes they do, and the old ones are far more gullible and needy. Nobody else watches the evening news anyway, and elders buy more prescription drugs than any other group. Rather than consult with their doctors, they will believe what they see acted out on their 1080p screens. And so pharma is delighted to rake in billions each year.

News and medical ads don’t mix well, and so the mute button often comes into play. (I’m stuck with CNN on cable here in Mexico; see CNN Is Tottering and my further complaints about it). The other night I watched prime time news on CNN for two hours, holding off on the mute button so I could encounter the following medical ads with their cacophonous, mindless names.

      • Cosentyx: for arthritis and, yes, psoriasis
      • Instaflex: in which plastic surgery victim Marie Osmond talked anti-aging immature blah-blah about her joint problems
      • Veozah: for hot flashes
      • Sotyktu: for psoriasis, and spelled out phonetically for you
      • Caplyta: for depression, etc.
      • Fasenra: for asthma @ $5,511.41 per dose
      • Rinvoq: for eczema, arthritis
      • Ozempic: for diabetes
      • Skyrizi: for psoriasis

Would you ever mention any of these consumer drugs to friends at a party? Civilized people should avoid such pharmaceutical discussions. Why are the actors in these commercials invariably happy and smiling. enjoying things like camping, entertaining, biking, eating, climbing mountains? Nobody is ever sick in bed and recovering. Black and white, fat and skinny, homely or handsome, these counterfeit people might as well be selling Russian laxatives.

Anyhow, your doctor will surely know if Skyrizi is better than Cosentyx or Sotyktu for your psoriasis. “If you experience any of these side effects, call your doctor,” says the rapid-talking (tachyphemic) voiceover—and see how long it takes to get an appointment. How come all those trivial or deadly side effects end with “call your doctor”? Maybe your doctor has never heard of this drug and thinks you are pushy and offensive for trying to question his competence. More likely, he too is beholden to Big Pharma whose lovely gals visit him regularly to dispense tons of free samples that make his patients happy.

Doctor Aaron Kesselheim of the Harvard Med School says: “Actually, the amount of money that pharmaceutical companies spend on advertising to physicians is far higher than the amount spent on direct-to-consumer advertising because physicians are the ones writing the prescriptions.” So everyone is in on the take.

The take is a lot less for CNN these days, so we can expect to see more medical ads, which pay well. Reports are rife that the network will slash what it pays its star anchors and make some big changes. We’ve heard that before. Long-time anchor Poppy Harlow is quitting. What I wish they would do is stop their constant, sickening pro-Israel bias. If that could happen I’d put up with the medical sludge.