Thursday, August 03, 2006


I was watching TV the other night and saw a commercial for some new medication for something that sounded serious … “RLS”!

They went on to explain that RLS was “restless leg syndrome.”


Oh come on now! The pharmaceutical companies are just flat out making shit up now to sell more drugs to more people who are too stupid for their own good. The makers (GlaxoSmithKline) of this new wonder drug (“Requip”) are an otherwise reputable pharmaceutical giant. (Although that is a bit like saying someone is an honest lawyer or a trustworthy politician).

Unfortunately these corporate pharma behemoths are so over-invested in so many drugs that will never get FDA approval, much less show any signs of effectiveness, that now they have taken to flat out making shit up just to get a drug on the market… just to pay for the research of the 99% of the drugs that … in the words of the Verve … “don’t work.”

These multinational drug companies KNOW that America is the place to sell this crap because face it … Americans will buy anything that sounds like an easy solution.

Restless legs? Try some exercise. You drive your car to the end of the driveway just to get your mail and maybe pop out for some drive through at the local Krispy Kreme. Your legs are restless because you only use them to form a lap for holding your array of salted fatty couch potato snacks.

OK … So MAYBE … there are people who have just a slight tingling in their legs and it’s a TAD annoying at times. This drug is not just recommended (by GlaxoSmithKline) for severe sufferers … nooooooo …. Where’s the money in that? It’s also available for moderate sufferers of tingly legs.

The ‘condition’ is described as “chronic” – the favorite word of pharmas and hypochondriacs alike. Chronic means basically, that the ‘condition’ just won’t go away – without (expensive) medication – or exercise of course, but pharmas don’t own a share of Bally’s … so that’s out.

Now before you go commenting about your Auntie or neighbor who ‘suffers’ from this malady … stop and consider this …

And this is a direct quote from the
Requip official website:

“Requip may cause you to fall asleep or feel sleepy while doing normal activities such as driving; or to faint or feel dizzy, nauseated or sweaty when you stand up from sitting or lying down. If you experience these problems, talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or are taking other medicines that make you drowsy. Side effects include nausea, drowsiness, vomiting and dizziness. Most patients were not bothered enough to stop taking Requip.”

Where do I start?

Well first this sounds like nothing but a sleeping tablet. Of course your legs don’t bother you when you’re in a deep drug-induced sleep. You’re so drowsy you can’t be bothered to stop taking it? Not lucid enough to make intelligent decisions it sounds like me!

And even if you do ‘suffer’ from restless legs, I can only speak for intelligent people when I say … weighing restless legs against nausea, vomiting drowsiness and dizziness, I’ll live with the leg tingles thank you very much.

By the way … “RLS” should not be confused with the fatal disease known as
“ALS” (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This disease is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player. Did you know that he actually caught AND died from Lou Gehrig’s disease? WHAT are the odds of THAT happening? They must be astronomical!

Getting back to RLS … It is just one of countless ‘syndromes’ that ‘doctors’ have ‘discovered’ in recent years. These so-called syndromes are not new… just giving them a name is new. You see if you give something a name, then it can be blamed. And our society has made it its raison d’etre to be personally blameless and eternal victims. This is the easier road to travel than actually taking responsibility for our own actions and well-being.

There are lots of new ‘syndromes’ now being marketed, and almost downright trendy to have. Not surprisingly, these new names are generally introduced along with another new name …the name of the wonder-drug invented and designed to fight off the evil … and perform a money-ectomy from the invalids who until recently, did not know they were sufferers!

Maybe you’re a martyr who carries the cross of ‘male pattern hair-loss’? When I was a kid we called this going bald.

Having bad breath doesn’t sound sympathetic. So we are inflicted with halitosis!

Your colon is not inflamed! NO. That could sound like your fault. You are burdened with diverticulitis!

How about the millions of yuppies being tortured with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? These people can also say they are victims of narcolepsy. Oh please … just once … let someone who works for me call in sick with this one!

What was that trendy malady about a decade ago called? Juan Epstein or Roseanne Barr virus or some such? OK, I know Epstein Barr virus is actually a herpesvirus that is the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis. It is also associated with various types of human cancers.

But none-the-less, it became the must-have trendy illness of the”I’ve-spent-all-my-money-on-plastic-surgery-and-now-need-a-real-doctor” upper class snots. Personally I’d have liked to vaccinate them all with a nice shot of bubonic plague.

By the way, did you know the symptoms of bubonic plague (aka Yersinia pestis) include: nausea, drowsiness, vomiting and dizziness? – The same as the list of side effects for that restless leg syndrome medicine?

Boxers used to be called ‘punchy’ or ‘punch drunk’. Now they all suffer from post-concussion syndrome.

Enough is enough. The use of euphemisms … spurred by the imposed political correctness of those who fear their very existence offends somebody … has created such a surreal madness that we’ve lost touch with what real illness is. Some might say this blog is belittling the needs and pains of real sufferers. I say it’s quite the opposite. It is lumping the every day whimperings of feigned illness in with real suffering, that belittles the real suffering.

I mean it’s bad enough that medical science chooses such bizarre unsympathetic names for legitimate ailments. I can’t imagine I’d be thrilled if I had the shakes and the doctor diagnosed me with ‘St. Vitus Dance’. That sounds like a Friday night event when I was in high school – Who am I going to take to the St Vitus Dance?

I do not lack sympathy for people with real medical conditions. And there have been recently discovered NEW ones …. AIDS, Sars, Ebola Virus, Mad-Asian-Cow-Bird-Flu etc.

But that’s just my point. By speaking of these real (often fatal) diseases in the same breath as
these made-up chronic conditions, just serves to legitimize those daily bellyaches as ‘real’ medical problems. This is being done as one of the largest unspoken, unchallenged conspiracies among the pharma companies of the world.

Their marketing strategy – though you won’t find this in any of their ‘mission statements’ is apparently based on this one thought.

If we can’t find cures for real and fatal, or life-altering afflictions, then we will find (and market) cures for things we can find cures for, no matter how irrelevant or real these ‘infirmities’ may be.

Can’t afford a syndrome? That’s ok … we have plenty of ‘disorders’ you can suffer from.

There are learning disorders, personality disorders, sleeping disorders, anxiety disorders. Take your pick. You can have an attention disorder, repetitive motion disorder, repetitive strain disorder, an oppositional defiant disorder or a disassociative disorder (used to be known as having multiple personalities).

There are all sorts of eating disorders out there to choose from too. But they are only for people who don’t eat enough. Our morbidly obese nation wouldn’t stand for it if we considered it to be a disorder to stuff our big (halitosis yielding) slobbering mouths with salty deep-fried, artery choking, nutritionally-challenged meals from out fast food institutions!

Maybe our bad backs and stem from the fact that as a nation we are grossly overweight? – Just a thought.

Oh the pain suffered by those with carpal tunnel syndrome! (sore wrists essentially). Those damned computers! They cause my migraines from staring at the screen, they cause me to go cross-eyed (aka Strabismus – give that a name so you can offer a marketable cure) … and now they make my wrist hurt. I quite literally believe these sore wrist sufferers might be suffering from “I wank too much disorder” Or “I just want to call in sick today syndrome.”

You can’t honestly tell me, that tip tapping away at today’s ‘ergonomic’ computer keyboards does more harm than was caused back in the day when a secretary’s desk had no computer, but rather a large, hard and stiff manual type writer.

We’ve become a nation of out-of-shape, whining hypochondriac wimps! America was founded on the (sore) backs of real laborers who proudly displayed a real work ethic. It’s only once the snake oil salesmen of the Wild West organized themselves (into what we call in the modern day –“pharmaceutical companies’) that our mal du jour society emerged as a nation of namby pamby milquetoast mama’s boys with a demand for softer facial tissues.

Our country has become home to a bunch of sniveling, sniffling office toady, service-industry desk-ridden computer jockeys who can’t so much sneeze without running to the pharmacy … the one in the supermarket so we can get more snacks … for the latest OTC (over-the-counter) remedy that merely attacks symptoms not causes.

Hey that sounds familiar! Attack the symptoms and not the causes. Why that’s been the platform of every administration since Taft hasn’t it? I mean why address why terrorists hate us (or why everyone hates us for that matter) based on our self-indulgent policies when we can declare a war on something? (War on terrorism, war on drugs, war on poverty).

Wars make us feel good. While our blubbery teletubby bodies are pampered with fast food and fast relief medicines … we can feel good about our weak conditions by collectively flexing the one muscle we have left … our gadget driven military machine. We can watch on the All-War channel (CNN) as America wins wars (though suffering 1,000 times the casualties after the ‘victory’, than during the actual conflict).

If we spent a tenth of what we are spending in Iraq and Afghanistan on research into (REAL) medical problems, we could solve many of them and still have money left over to fund a workable health care system and provide health insurance for all.

But no. The political powers that be would have to tackle some of their tough/staunch (right wing) stances … on stem cell research for example.

Our brave lads (and I DO support our troops whether I agree with why they’ve been deployed) can look forward to surviving the conflict so later in life they can join the American Legion. (And get legionnaires disease no doubt).

War on drugs? Hey let’s face it. The ‘war’ on drugs has been a farcical exercise is wasting money and filling prisons … with no chance for ‘victory’. If you want to rage a real war on drugs, I feel it is not the street/black-market/illegal drug market we should examine. It is the so-called legitimate (prescription) drug market that is far more a threat. Their drugs are just as addictive (if not more so) and their associated dependence is not only supported by the government but they count on it to feed to ever-growing medical-legal-pharmaceutical triangular trade and also of course … we have to please the share holders.

We block the importation of cheaper drugs (from Canada for example) and prolong the wait for generics while our older citizens, who need some (but probably not all) of the drugs they have been prescribed are being bankrupted by the failures of Medicare Medicaid.

The answer is simple enough. Drug companies should not be permitted to pass on ALL their research costs collectively into the pricing of the drugs they manage to get approved. Their research should be classified into two categories … 1) REAL life threatening or suffering conditions and 2) Cosmetic or superficial drugs (IE Rogaine, Propecia etc.)

The costs of researching drugs designed to ‘cure’ life’s little nuisances should be spent at the Pharmaceuticals’ expense and risk.

You may be inclined to counter with the argument that you are not overweight … and actually have a gym membership. Would that be the lifetime gym membership you shelled out a gazillion dollars for and went to the gym as many times in the first month as you have in the three years that followed? Or maybe you bought some home gym equipment? You know that over-sized bench with lots of chrome and rubbery things that takes up a whole room and is essentially being used as a $1500 clothes hanger.

Even those who DO exercise are doing so to see and be seen as to actually following a sensible cardiac routine.

“Gotta look good dude … work the abs!”

We are also a nation of fad dieters. To name but a FEW … there are:

Dr. Dean Ornish: Eat More, Weigh Less, The Good Carbohydrate Revolution, The Pritikin Principle, Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss, Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan, Fit for Life, The South Beach Diet, Cambridge Diet, Slim-Fast Diet, Neutrisystems, Dexatrim Natural, Hydroxycut, Metabolife 356, Eat Right For Your Type: The Blood Type Diet, Macrobiotics, Mayo Clinic Diet, and of course … Suzanne Somers' Somersizing.

Yes I want to gamble my future health on the wisdom of Chrissy Snow’s nutritional expertise. I’d be better off letting Jack Tripper cook for me while Mr. Roper slips me a mickey down at the Regal Beagle.

I remember a few years ago, it was trendy to watch the (saturated and non-saturated) fats. It was all about the fats. Now it’s carbs man. “Gotta watch the carbs.”


“Cause it’s trendy dude – don’t you read People Magazine?”

In the immortal words of Fernando (aka Billy Crystal) … “It’s better to look good than to feel good.”

We’ve coddled our children. We can’t let them outside. God forbid we let them walk outside (and get some exercise) anywhere – that’s what the gas-guzzling minivan is for. Anything outside of sleeping, we require them to wear a helmet and knee pads. We’re WIMPS!

Our kids are seeing an alarming increase in rates of allergies and asthma. Could this have something to do with the fact that we never let them outside to get anywhere near a ragweed until they’re in their pre-teens (and then, only whilst wearing an approved helmet of course). Instead we keep them inside, in the hopes that all their X-Box playing will strengthen their carpal tunnels, before they have to grow up and do office work.

The world of physical illnesses seems to have taken a page from the realm of mental illness.
Again, I am not denying the existence of real mental illness, but it has been the practice of psychiatry (since the times of Sigmund Fraud) to label all mental conditions.

By giving every mental condition a name, there is something to blame. Therefore we are “not guilty by reason of __________ [fill in your preferred mental illness here].”

By defining ‘clinical depression’ for example, we can leave open the door of vagueness that separates this from just “having the blues.” And ($$ - ‘Ca-CHING’ - $$ !) we can therefore market a whole array of ‘pick-me-ups’ from mothers’ little helpers to ginseng green tea.

Let’s consider bipolar disorder for one. It used to be known as manic depression. But depression can sound self-induced and we don’t want you to blame yourself. Try this new drug instead!

Manic depression IS serious. But it’s sooo yesterday. Let’s get the boys in ‘creative’ to come up with something … a syndrome of some sort …otherwise, how can we sell a new drug. Maybe the lads can come up with something ‘sexy’ … something like … “Bi-Polar Disease … THIS is not your FATHER’s manic depression!”

The mental health industry – and that’s just what it is – an industry … does help many people (stay out of jail). But though there are no known statistics for this, I would estimate that at least one out of every two people, currently in some form on psychological therapy would be an otherwise normal and functioning member of society were it not for the ‘cool’ aspect of being IN therapy amongst LA and New York socialites and also the acceptance that we as a society have allowed for ourselves not to take responsibility for our own happiness. We dish out blame like pork chops at a Baptist picnic.

I don’t want to even address tourette’s syndrome. All the good jokes on the topic have already been done. I do have one question though. Is ‘TS’ only suffered in the English speaking world? Or are there victims also shouting curses uncontrollably in Swahili? What about in Cherokee or Faroese? – Just a thought.

Still don’t think the pharmas are just trying to sell you anything for the sake of making a few bucks?

Maybe you’ve called the operator (who was ‘standing by’) to order some Garlique! Let’s see … garlic is good for you …there isn’t any in a big mac though …so let’s grind it up into tablet form! We can call it ‘Garlique’ (c’est chic).

Americans love tablets more than Moses did.

So beyond the “consult your physician” meds (you know – the ones you need to [talk your doctor into giving you] a prescription for) … and then beyond the OTC (over-the-counter/non-prescription remedies) there lies a quasi-medicinal world of the “all natural” panaceas.

These are generally the ones you hear on sports-talk radio ads, or more prominently receive in your “junk” (spam) folder in your email. These herbal wonders promise me a bigger penis and a smaller wallet. They promise to cure everything from athlete’s foot to nervous ticks.

For those who prefer NOT to turn themselves into drug-ingesting slaves to the pharma gods … there are self help books. Of course, unless YOU wrote the book yourself …it is not technically SELF help now is it? We are addicted to these books as a nation, more than to drugs I think. Everything from “Ventriloquism for Dummies” to “I’m OK, You’re a Moron.”

I suppose I have to address pre-menstrual syndrome. Ladies, I am NOT denying the existence
of cramps, pains and mood swings. I have witnessed them and I am a believer. My point is though, that women have been suffering period pains … well …since Eve I suppose. It’s only in this generation that we gave them a more serious sounding name. I credit our British cousins however, who refer to it as PMT (pre-menstrual tension) since ‘tension’ allows the implication to exist that all in the household (not just the period barer) can suffer from the tension. Calling it a ‘syndrome’ seems to imply it’s not normal, when in fact, it is.

Popular usage has actually even turned this ‘syndrome’ into a verb … as in “I’m PMSing.”

I’d be remiss (though less long-windedly pedantic) if I didn’t address the latest “discovery” of medical science. How often have you been standing around the water cooler, when some colleague hasn’t said, “They can put a man on the moon. You’d think they could come up with some way to cure my erectile dysfunction!”

In one of the most bizarre events I’ve ever witnessed, I was watching the World Cup in 2002 (bizarre in itself that I as an American was watching soccer) and I saw a commercial for an Erectile Dysfunction medicine … and the spokesman in the commercial was none other than Brazilian soccer legend … PELE!

How hard have the times been for Pele that he would disregard his god-like status in the macho world of soccer (OK football) to do ads for ‘ED’? How much did they have to pay him? The question that sprang immediately to my mind was … “did all those amazing ‘bicycle’ kicks cause Pele a problem that we weren’t previously aware of?

First on the market was of course Viagra (Pfizer). But also a quick riser (pun intended) on the market was Cialis (Eli Lilly).

In the
Cialis ad, … they actually say:

"The most common side effects with CIALIS were headache and upset stomach. Backache and muscle ache were also reported, sometimes with delayed onset. Most men weren't bothered by the side effects enough to stop taking CIALIS. As with any ED tablet, in the rare event of priapism (an erection lasting more than four hours), seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury. In rare instances, men taking prescription ED tablets (including CIALIS) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision. It's not possible to determine if these events are related directly to the ED tablets or to other factors. If you have a sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking any ED tablet and call your doctor right away."

Headache? Isn’t that usually the number one excuse NOT to have sex? Backache? That’ll come from the too much sex I’d imagine.

A FOUR HOUR ERECTION? Believe me; my doctor is NOT going to be the first person I consult. I can barely find 15 extra minutes in my day to read the newspaper. What am I going to do with a four hour erection? Oh … and whose “long term injury” am I trying to avoid? Mine or hers?

As for the loss of vision … I highly recommend selecting your sexual partner before the onset of blindness or God knows WHAT you’ll end up in bed with. In fact this kind of sounds like the same side effect as in beer.

Here are my top ten predicted –“Soon To Be Made Up Syndromes” the pharmas will unleash upon us any day now:

10) CDS (chronic disorder syndrome) – Sufferers of every known ailment on the planet (and a few unknown ones) will be relieved when “fukitol” hits the drug store shelves.

9) CDD (chronic disorder dysfunction) – Similar to CDS, only called this name by a rival pharmaceutical company, at least until the patent lawsuit is settled.

8) CDDS (chronic disorder dysfunction syndrome) This is a rare and really SERIOUS case of basically any guy who just can’t – for whatever reason - get his shit together.

7) Gonorrhea Ear – An inner ear venereal infection brought infection brought on by practicing unsafe phone sex. 6) Vitas Gerulaitis – A newly discovered form of tennis elbow, acquired only when using one of the ‘70’s tennis rackets. You know, the ones actually smaller than a garbage can lid that players today use.

5) Staying Home In the Toilet Syndrome: “Can’t come in to work today boss. I got the S.H.I.T.S.”

4) Carpool Tunnel Syndrome – Anxiety brought on from a carful of smelly co-workers while stuck in traffic in a claustrophobic traffic tunnel.

3) Soccer Mom Rage Disorder – Anxiety brought on when all the other kids’ moms are driving a new minivan, and you’re still picking the kids up in the '74 AMC wagon.

2) Wonky Mammillatosis – The effect, soon to be appearing as young women who had breast augmentation surgeries approach middle age.

1) Irritable Vowel Syndrome – (AKA Pat Sajak’s Disease). Symptoms include an uncontrollable
desire to insert vowels into Czech and Polish surnames like Czyzchky or Wlykvtlcz. The national spokesperson will be Vanna “buy a vowel” White herself.

I am going to lie down now and rest before writing any more gives me carpal tunnel tennis elbow. And I fear I am starting dyslexia a case to develop of. I’ve probably lost you several paragraphs ago due to your attention deficit disorder – Not to be confused with George W. … suffers from ‘paying attention to the deficit disorder’.

I’ll probably have that recurring nightmare where I am suffering from The China Syndrome.

I hope my sleep apnea and deviated septum don’t prevent my wife from getting some rest. It probably won’t since I’m sure she’s ingested something today that ‘may cause drowsiness.’

I want a New Drug!

Fukitol credited to -