Ever wonder why America is one of only two nations in the entire world that allows drug advertising on television? The following is a partial script of a largely unknown YouTube video on today’s pervasive drug commercials:
“Do you get cold when it’s chilly?
Hungry when you don’t eat?
I know I sure do!
Until recently, I thought I was perfectly healthy!
That’s when my doctor told me about Pretendatrin.
It alleviates the symptoms of “MDD” or mild discomfort disorder.
It changed my life!
And it can change yours, too. With Pretendatrin I’m confident that whatever is not wrong with me is being treated! …
Thanks to Pretendatrin, I can do all the things I used to be able to do with the added confidence that I’m doing them while medicated!
Pretendatrin – because everybody deserves to be on something!”
Sound familiar? The video can be seen here. Although humorous, the video implies a serious warning about such television messages.
For instance, a May 6th article in the Los Angeles Times highlights the troubling trend of lowering the threshold of what is considered ill health.
The writer, H. Gilbert Welch, is a practicing physician and professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He is the author of the book, “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health.”
In his Los Angeles Times article, Dr. Welch writes, “Low diagnostic thresholds lead people who feel well to be labeled as unwell. Not surprisingly, some subsequently feel less well. In short, low diagnostic thresholds introduce more “dis”-ease into the population. Does that sound like a good thing for a “healthcare” system to do?”
Dr. Welch notes the four following reasons to explain how this has come about:
1. Money. “Whether you are a drug company, a hospital or any other player in the system, the easiest way to make more money is to encourage lower thresholds and turn more people into patients.”
2. Fear. “While clinicians are sued for failure to diagnose or failure to treat, there are few corresponding penalties for overdiagnosis or overtreatment. Doctors view low thresholds as the safest strategy to avoid a courtroom appearance.”
3. Measuring health. “The movement to measure healthcare quality, however well intended, exacerbates the problem. Many performance metrics measure whether diagnostic tests and treatments are being ordered. Because good grades typically require action, not inaction, lower thresholds are encouraged.”
4. Medical Culture. “Finally, there’s our medical culture. We are trained not to miss things, however unimportant those things are. And we are trained to focus on the few we might be able to help, even if it’s only 1 out of 100… But it’s time for everyone to start caring about what happens to the [rest of the patients].”
Increasingly, physicians today are recognizing that our thoughts play a significant role in health care outcomes and that implanting suggestions of illness can be counter to fostering good health.
In my post of April 13th, I referenced Dr Clifton Meador, of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, who wrote, ‘Bad news promotes bad physiology. I think that you can persuade people that they’re going to die and have it happen. I don’t think there is anything mystical about it.”
I’ve always quickly muted TV commercials suggesting that I may be sick or vulnerable and need to seek a certain pill to ensure my well being. And my health has never suffered from not being acquainted with the latest pharmaceuticals.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, alerted the world to the dangers of these messages as early as 1875! In her book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” she wrote,
“The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it. …. What a price for human knowledge!”
Christian Science has many more helpful and relevant things to say about safely maintaining health without prescription drugs. To learn more, visit christianscience.com or a Christian Science Reading Room in your area.