The Forbidden Fruit: How Do Companies Sell Hazardous Products?

The danger of drugs

In Medication on March 15, 2011 at 09:32

Addressing the sender, not the receiver
(image © SeroquelXR)

Having TV commercials for pharmaceutical drugs is relatively normal in the United States. The following commercial for the anti-depressant Seroquel XR is directed at doctors who can prescribe the medicine, instead of the people that would actually use the drug.

Seroquel XR is a drug that is intended to fight psychological disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and major depressive disorder. However, when reading the drug leaflet the side effects prove to be more hazardous than the disorder the patient was diagnosed with in the first place. The drug causes increased death rates with elderly patients – diagnosed with dementia – as they are exposed to cardiovascular or infectious diseases. The drug also proved an increased risk in suicidal thinking and behavior among children, adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with a form of psychological disorder.

This crucial information is obviously not mentioned in the commercial. What the advertising agency for the Seroquel XR has done is that as it is directed at doctors, they point out the importance of the role of the doctor and how excellent the doctor is. Phrases such as “health care professional” and “your expertise” help give the doctor a good feeling about him-/herself. The commercial also stimulates the doctor to think about possible solutions to psychological disorders with phrases such as “what will your next step be?” and “which will you choose?” (regarding the possible “tools” at hand).

After 0:28 seconds of feeling you’re sucked into a state of eternal limbo where only the health care professionals would feel good about themselves and the rest of us would spontaneously cringe in a state of depression, the science-fiction à la House commercial slows down and makes a final statement that the doctor has a new tool in fighting major depressive disorder and that by prescribing Seroquel XR the doctor helps tackle depression “one day at a time, one step at a time”.

As a WeHazAds representative, I would not recommend this commercial to be broadcasted on television. This commercial has a very depressive vibe to it (which makes sense as it is an anti-depression med) and would instantaneously send every individual into an immediate state of depression (unless you’re a “health care professional” because then you’re the one with the “expertise” and smart moves). It would be better if this advertisement were to be broadcast on hospital televisions in doctor’s lounges. Or any other media form, used by health care professionals only.


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