Friday, December 23, 2005

Drug Stabbing Time

The advertising of pharmaceuticals is banned in Ireland (and most of the EU, I think). IMO this is a good thing, and having been to the States I'm even more convinced of that. Most people, I find, have hypochondriac tendencies to some degree or other; people with colds claiming they have the 'flu, for instance, or people claiming to have food poisoning when they just have an upset stomach or a dose of the runs; or the lunchtime conversations where one person describes how they're not well and suddenly half the people at the table are chipping in with their anecdotes about suffering the symptoms of whatever.

Particularly for the more newly-identified ailments that should be (but aren't) categorised under the broad titles 'stress' and 'fatigue', drug ads can be highly suggestive and are designed to compel the potential customer to leg it to their GP demanding a prescription for a branded drug on the grounds that they *know* what's wrong with them (having just seen the ad). And so it is with an advertising blitz by GlaxoSmithKline in the US for RLS - Restless Leg Syndrome. If ever an ailment was invented to sell drugs then this, surely, is it:

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) affects up to 10% of American adults. They may have difficulty lying down and sleeping, or sitting down and relaxing, because their legs just won't let them. Air travel and long car trips are a trial. Even enjoying a television show may be more than they can manage.

Restless Legs Syndrome can have a significant physical and emotional impact on sufferers. Symptoms may interfere with their sleep, and as a result, they may feel sleepy during the day, too tired to participate in their daily activities.

Restless Legs Syndrome is a real medical condition, like diabetes, depression, or high blood pressure. Many people are unaware that there is a name for their condition: It's called Restless Legs Syndrome.

If you've just identified yourself in that little blurb then read the How To Get Help section, it will explain to you how you can persuade your GP that you aren't stark raving mad. Those nice people at GSK have even provided a handy checklist.
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