Havidol is a new drug that has just been released to treat Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD). Well, that’s what many people thought when visiting the exhibit at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York.
“People have walked into the gallery and thought it was real. They didn’t get the fact that this was a parody or satire.”
As most of you reading this know, there is no such thing as DSACDAD, and you can’t really “have it all” with Havidol. The parody is in response to the marketing strategies used by the pharmaceutical industry to sell their products to the public.
Why is pharmaceutical marketing bad? In my opinion, it’s not.
As a physician, you know if a drug is right for a patient. If it’s right, they want it, and they can pay for it – give it to them. And, take any perks that may come along with writing the script.
Before my time, physician perks would include week-long vacations and swank $150 dinners. Now, physicians are stuck with pens and the occasional free lunch during a presentation. That’s nice too, but there are students, residents, and physicians that are trying to get that taken away as well.
The argument is that it “increases prices for consumers.” I’ve also heard “what about the people who can’t afford the new drugs?”
The answer is easy: Health care is a privilege, not a right. If I can’t afford a new drug, you bet your ass I’ll pick up the cheaper variety, even if the side-effects suck a little more. There’s nothing wrong with that. People don’t want to do that, though. Whenever the words ‘health care’ are mentioned, people think they are owed a handout.
For example, on my student rotations some patients would complain about having to pay for medications. They would spend $6 to support a 2-pack per day habit, yet complain about having to drop $20 on their prescription. Unfortunately, this is more common than you think. It’s not the pharmaceutical industry that has it wrong, it’s the consumer.
Just like any business, the pharmaceutical industry has to turn a profit in order to continue manufacturing drugs. To aid in turning a profit, they increase awareness of their products through mainstream marketing channels. Take away that profit and you take away the drive for drug development and the continued retail sale of pharmaceuticals.