If you read the fine print, it seems surprising that the makers of prescription drugs ever sell some of their products. After all, who wants to get sicker or even risk death?
In television ads and in print, the drug makers evidently are required — to limit liability if nothing else — to spell out all kinds of reservations about what they are promoting. But on TV, the voice-over warnings and cautions are accompanied by images of people getting well, and sometimes beautiful scenery, so who pays attention to the fast-paced recitation of side effects?
In magazines, though, the cautions often take up a whole page or two, and you can take your time reading through them if you’re so inclined. Here’s an example from an ad for a drug intended for children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.
What could go wrong if you take this medicine? Well, sudden death, for one, in patients who have heart problems. Or strokes and heart attacks in adults. Or increases in blood pressure and heart rate. Mental problems could get worse. Or people might develop new or worse bipolar illness. Drugs like this could cause children and teenagers to hear voices. They could also cause a slowdown in growth, vomiting, trouble sleeping, dizziness and fever, among many other troubles.
Compared to all that, a little attention deficit or hyperactivity may not seem all that bad. (hh)