Friday, January 25, 2008

Women Need More Love, Less Drugs

There seems to be a proliferation of "real" diseases that "primarily affect middle-aged women." That, for example, is how fibromyalgia is described (see "Drug Approved. Is Disease Real?"). The "real" adjective figures prominently in Pfizer's TV ad for Lyrica, which was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia (see "Living with Fibromyalgia, First Drug Approved").

You've probably seen the commercial -- if not, you can find it on the official Lyrica product site here.

On the left/above is a frame from that video showing a woman in distress after reading from her diary about the pain she suffered "all over." (God, look at the signs of distress in her face and neck!)

She also took the time to write in her diary "But until June 2007 there were no medicines approved by the FDA to manage fibromyalgia." I notice she used the word "manage" instead of "cure" or even "treat." If she used anything else than the FDA approved language, I am sure she would have gotten a letter from the FDA. Damn that FDA! Haven't they heard about the "free speech" rights of patients?

But I digress, as usual.

It's not just this woman who I see suffering in TV drug ads. There's that poor woman suffering from pain caused by depression in the Cymbalta TV ad and the woman who suffers from the "needles and pins" pain of restless leg syndrome (RLS).

As I think more about these women, I'm beginning to believe they suffer more from lack of love than a "real" medical condition. Take that woman suffering from RLS ... please (bada boom). At first I thought she was blaming it all on her poor husband over whom she threw the bed sheet in disgust. But then I noticed that he was sleeping with his back to her. Wouldn't she feel better if they slept like spoons in a drawer -- you know, in a loving embrace?

I notice that other women in some drug ads are very happy and pain-free, especially the ones in the Cialis and Levitra ads (surprisingly, women are missing in the recent Viagra ads --- see "Viva Viagra Ad is No Cure for Morte Sales"). And don't forget that woman in the Amitiza ad (see "Amitiza DTC Ads Won't Win Any Awards, But..."). She obviously has a loving relationship with her husband and looks VERY happy. Of course, she's just "dropped the boys off at the pool," but we don't see her blame her husband who obviously stays at home while she goes off to work. Maybe that's the key to a great marriage?

Of course, the happiest women of all are the ones in the Botox reminder ads! They "remind" me of The Real Housewives of Orange County. They are beyond love and sex with their husbands and have the money to sublimate their desires through cosmetics, shopping, and eating lunch out every day.

I think women like the fibromyalgia sufferer could benefit from more love, not drugs. But then, I'm a product of the "make love, not war" sixties, which makes me biased (although some of us did use "drugs" back then -- but NOT me. Kids, in case you're reading this, get back to your books!).

P.S. I am ready to be pilloried in your comments!


  1. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Thanks, keep blaming men for everything.

    It doesn't matter, though - we don't care any more.

  2. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Exactly! Thats exactly what the writer was talking about! Pay attention! And maybe pay more attention to your woman too! Sheesh!

  3. Anonymous11:46 AM

    I saw this ad on tv the other day and I was sadly impressed by their marketing. Doesn't mean I support the drug, but you gotta give it to Pharma for trying to reach potential female customers, using that soft-spoken, concerned-sounding, woman.

    I would also point out Pharma's use of reverse psychology when they list the "side effects." The woman uses the same soft-spoken voice to *slowly* list them off, instead of the usual too-fast-for-ears blurb that people can't even hear because of the background music. If people can hear the side effects and process them, they feel like Pharma has nothing to hide and are therefore trustworthy. Not my line of reasoning by any means, but to the average consumer who doesn't have time to learn the ends and outs about the drug, this kind of marketing will probably register "successfully."

  4. Anonymous11:08 AM


    Lyrica ad and drug overuse aside -- what disappointing comments from you, Mr. Mack! Why box women into a limited, conventional view? And, who in the world can get a good night's slumber from sleeping like "spoons in a drawer?" I suggest you interview some middle age women to see how they feel about the Ad, your Soprano-like comments, and what they enjoy in their lives.

    BTW, didn't you learn anything from the '60's? you knowlingly dismiss women's complaints - fibermyalgia, RLS, or whatever, and suggest love is the cure. Unfortunately, as nice as love can be when the fit is right, it can't cure all.

  5. It is not a strange suggestion that love heals - we all know that feeling loved affects everything inside us, from the digestion out to the skin - nervous system especially. We all need some unconditional love, and not only for growing children. The problem is, how to get it without seeming weak and pathetic... and who gets it first is probably the single biggest cause of arguments in many households, if we only knew it..

  6. Anonymous12:31 PM

    Are you kidding me? These women who are suffering from Fibromyalgia are actually suffering from a "lack of love"? I agree with the first response I saw "Thanks, keep blaming men for everything". You cannot blame ALL men for what some do. I was married to a controlling and abusive man for years. But for the last 18 years, I have been married to the most amazing and loving man I have ever known, who is also my best friend. I also have severe Fibromyalgia. I guarantee it is not caused by a "lack of love". It is a real and very painful disease. Yes I know they call it a syndrome and not a disease because they say it doesn't progress. But many of us who have to deal with this know it does. The pain worsens, the stiffness worsens, all the accompanying symptoms worsen. Can it be controlled? For some yes. For others, no. I have taken EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine. After having it for 10 years, I have finally been prescribed a medication that does actually help me more than anything has before. My husband and family are very understanding and supportive and do all they can to help me. But still, I have Fibromyalgia, a very real and very painful condition, that is NOT CAUSED BY MEN!!!

  7. You know, of course, I am just commenting on my interpretation of how I see mean and women interact in different drug ads. Blaming REAL life Fibromyalgia on lack of love is taking my analysis too far although I asked for it when I used the title of this post.


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