Is That a Drug or an Alien Planet!?
So I'm watching T.V. and--here's a shocker--a pharmaceutical company's drug commercial comes on! You know how the rest goes. There are images of people looking sad, missing out on life because of 'X' chronic condition, followed by a musical transition of sorts signaling the introduction of 'X' miracle drug. Now people are smiling, couples are happy again, adults are prancing around with kids or grand-kids depending on the typical age one is whenever they have whatever they have. Like Dorothy waking up in Oz, the entire color pallet might change once he or she starts popping the pill to paradise. Either intermingled throughout the last part of the commercial or crammed in at the very end is a litany of medical factors that would disqualify you from using the good stuff in the first place OR the twenty other side effects you will experience if you do fortunately qualify. For taking care of your singular nagging illness you might experience a plethora of other un-pleasantries, ranging from diarrhea to death.
welcome to planet 'XELJANZ XR'
So none of this commercial surprised me; like so many of us we are very familiar with the formula. But the name of the drug was what caught my attention. 'XELJANZ XR'? Sounds like the name of an alien planet that the Guardians of the Galaxy should visit in Volume 3!
Then it dawned on me. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think that all these pills sound like cosmic sci-fi destinations! Did big pharma secretly hire George Lucas!? I felt that this was worth further exploration. So to test my hypothesis, I found an article listing the top ten most advertised prescription drugs in the United States in 2017. Humira? Lyrica? VIAGRA!? Somebody in marketing was tapping into their inner Gene Roddenberry! Well, I should say that I found my theory to not be universally true. The drug called Trulicity sounds more like the name of Jay-Z and Beyonce's future fourth child than a terrestrial body.
the moral of the story and my favorite parody
According to a 2013 study by the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center, "Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two..." Now this is no laughing matter for those who suffer from chronic diseases and are desperate for any relief. But the very same study found that anti-depressants represented the second-most prescribed medication. No matter what the specific reason, it can be safely said that we Americans want to feel good, or at least better than we do right now. So whatever they name the drug--whether it sounds like the kind of place Captain James T. Kirk would find his next girlfriend or the obscure handle for the next celebrity couple's progeny--I'm sure that the billions pharmaceutical companies invest in these advertisements will be richly rewarded by American consumers.
OK, so one positive from this onslaught of drug-pushing commercials is that they've served as ample fodder for social media and late night comedians. So I thought I would conclude on a lighter note with my favorite drug commercial parody via Dwayne Johnson and the SNL crew. After all, learning to laugh at ourselves might be the quickest way to help us realize our societal insanity.