Commercial Break: Fake Doctors Love Crestor   Leave a comment

Broadcast: 23 October 2012
Program: Out Front with Erin Burnett
Channel: CNN
Conglomerate: Time Warner

Advertiser: Crestor
Owned By: AstraZeneca
Pitch: Stave off death (for a little while) by asking your real doctor if the things our fake doctor says may apply to you. 

Ah prescription drug ads, where vile side effects consume most of the screen time, healthy looking actors wander around, and complicated medical information is turned into a pleasant, computer graphics heavy goo of friendly and obvious statements.  Today our ad is for “Crestor”, which is the nonthreatening, easy-to-remember nonsense word that AstraZeneca made up for one of its cholesterol drugs.  We open with an idiot standing next to a mirror in a pleasantly sunny plaza:

Street Art or Medical Professional, You Be the Judge

You can tell I’m a doctor because of my white coat and stethoscope.

Despite his central casting appearance as a doctor, this man is not a doctor.  Oh sure, he says things like this:

I wish my patients could see what I see. 

And this:

And that’s why, when diet and exercise alone aren’t enough, I prescribe Crestor.

But even if the fact that he’s standing around holding a giant, full length mirror like some oddball street performer didn’t tip you off to the fact that this guy might not have finished medical school, there’s also that poorly contrasted text in the lower right that notes, as briefly and unobtrusively as possible, that this is an “Actor Portrayal”. 

So, despite what he says, he’s never had a patient and never prescribed a thing, which means that there isn’t the least bit of medical expertise behind this sentence of his:

In a clinical trial versus Lipitor, Crestor got more high risk patients bad cholesterol to a goal of under one hundred.

Even coming from a demonstrably untrustworthy source, that all certainly sounds good.  It was a “clinical trial”, after all, which helped “high risk patients” lower their “bad cholesterol”. 

These Are Your Arteries on Photoshop, Any Questions

Holy shit, that mirror can do anything!  Make it play Fruit Ninja!

Of course, Dr. Actor Portrayal doesn’t say anything about this “clinical trial”, including who paid for it.  Nor does he mention what happened to the patients, if any, who weren’t “high risk”.  And he doesn’t even say whether or not these patients had high cholesterol before the started taking Crestor, just that they were “high risk” for something or other. 

This is the basic rub of prescription drug ads.  They still have to be at least mildly medically accurate in what they promise, so they’re forced to use omission and misdirection to make a narrow category of people seem as broad as possible.  Note that the fake doctor doesn’t say that only people who are “high risk” should consult someone with a prescription pad, he says that you should:

Is your cholesterol at goal?  Talk to your doctor about Crestor.

That has only the thinnest of connections to the “clinical trial” he mentioned earlier, but nevermind that. 

When the fake doctor isn’t imparting his medical expertise to us laypeople, it’s time for the best part of every prescription drug ad, the horrible side effects:

Crestor is not right for everyone, like people with liver disease, or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.  Tell your doctor about other medicines you’re taking.  Call your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness, feel unusually tired, have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes.  These could be signs of rare but serious side effects. 

So Crestor can turn your skin and eyeballs yellow, make your piss “dark”, stop you from eating, make you terribly weak and tired, and cause pain all over your body.  Fun! 

Naturally, no one with yellow eyes and terrible muscle pain is show while this is being read.  Instead we get a tastefully multiracial collage of middle aged people:

No Side Effects Here

Does this prescription drug make my butt look big?

In summary, Crestor might help people who may or may not be the least bit like you according to a guy who’s pretending to be a doctor.  Oh, and it might make your eyes turn yellow. 

Posted October 24, 2012 by Charlie Sweatpants in Commercial Break

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