Give me your medication list and I’ll tell you your health problems. It happens every day in emergency rooms across the country as confused elderly patients present for an acute problem unable to describe their past medical history, but equipped with a list of medications in their wallet:
Metformin = Type-2 diabetes
Synthroid = Hypothyroidism
Lipitor + Altace + Lasix + Slo-K = Ischemic cardiomyopathy
Lexapro = A little anxious or depressed
Viagra = Well, you know…
I bet I’d be right better than 90 percent of the time. Now, imagine you’re a pharmaceutical company wanting to target people with those chronic diseases. Where might you find them?
No problem. Just pay the insurers to provide you patients’ drug lists. No names need be exchanged in keeping with HIPAA requirements. But the drugs list attached to folks’ cable TV box? Perfect. You’re in — with no legal strings attached. Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, just fire away with that targeted direct-to-consumer advertising on TV, courtesy of your local healthcare insurance provider.
No wonder our healthcare industry movers and shakers love the electronic medical record. Healthcare privacy? What healthcare privacy?
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
If ever a medical device company crossed a line with their marketing, this one has. Essure, which makes a sterilization device for women, is trying to scare men away from vasectomy in order to drive women to use their device.
“We made men watch footage of an actual vasectomy,” says the female voiceover — and then they proceed to show men’s reactions to watching a surgical procedure, with “That’s frickin’ gross, man” being the most memorable quote. The final tagline: “You can only wait so long for him to man up.” Yeah, and to be sure he doesn’t, they’ve created this ad.
The ad is slimy, harmful, obnoxious, and just plain stupid. A couple’s decision as to which sterilization procedure is best for them should be one informed by real information, not frat-boy marketing.
How dare they? The FDA should pull this ad — now.
Addendum: I just emailed the FDA at BadAd@fda.hhs.gov. Feel free to copy my message below and send your own email:
To the FDA,
I find this ad for Essure both inflammatory and unethical. I am incensed at the impact this ad could have on couples’ informed choices about sterilization. I ask that you mandate that the company who makes Essure immediately pull this ad, both from the Web and from any media outlet where it’s playing.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*
Mark Hyman, a proponent of so-called “functional medicine” promoting himself over at the Huffington Post (an online news source that essentially allows dubious medical infomercials to pass as news) has posted a particularly egregious article on personalized medicine for dementia.
In the article Hyman distorts the modern practice of medicine, the current state of genetic science, and the very notion of “disease.” It is, as usual, a fine piece of medical propaganda sure to confuse many a reader. Hyman starts with some standard epidemiology of dementia –- it’s a common and growing disorder –- but then descends quickly into distortion and pseudoscience. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*