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Scope of side effects

July 26, 2009

Re "Sick of drug ads," Opinion, July 22

Long overdue. Christopher Lane's statistics on the increased spending on advertising are impressive.

When he zeroed in on an outrageous campaign promoting eyelash growth, it reminded me of how I have laughed out loud at some of the televised advertising for real drugs. The long list of "significant side effects" often challenges even the most experienced actor's breath control.

I'd like to see a change that limits the listed side effects to two -- and those would need to be measurably less serious than the illness for which the drug is designed.

Ethel Booth

Los Angeles

I'm happy that Lane pointed out how we pay higher drug prices to cover a pharmaceutical firm's lame and unwanted commercials. But he failed to cover their scope of bad taste, annoying messages and stated-like-automatic-weapon-fire side effects.

Let me embellish some of the side effects mentioned in one online ad: Do you have mind-numbing headaches or chronic constipation? Does your stomach churn like a runaway sauna, or does it ache like a mule kick? Do rashes appear like tempests of bed bugs?

Disgusting, isn't it?

Jim Hoover

Huntington Beach

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Lane has done us an enormous favor by showing us how psychology has collaborated with the drug companies to make us believe that every conceivable human problem has a pharmaceutical solution.

A myriad of hastily manufactured drugs can be pushed on us with the government's permission as long as they list, ad nauseam, the litany of side effects.

I wasn't aware that such direct-to-consumer marketing of drugs is only legal here and in New Zealand.

Given that this kind of advertising is turning the most impressionable among us into a nation of "druggies," we should put a stop to it.

Dennis Stone

Los Angeles

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