Monday, March 24, 2014

It's What They Say, Not What They Do

Ever hear of Victoza? Sounds like a Mafia hit man, right? "Get Vic Toza on it."
It's actually a pharmaceutical, for Type II diabetes. I learned about it
last Sunday while watching Face the Nation on CBS, which I had recorded.

This 60-second commercial came on and seemed pleasant enough. It showed healthy-looking men and women, most in their 50's or 60's, leading active, productive lives.

The music lulled me into a state of acceptance - a gentle guitar melody, some soft background instrumentation. Kind of like a lullaby.

But the announcer was saying things that had nothing to do with the pictures. "What gives?" I thought. So I ran the spot back to the beginning, listened to his calm, soothing voice talk about some really ugly stuff. I ran it back, and this time I wrote down what he said.

This is the copy. Most certainly written by lawyers. As you read this, keep in mind the lovely music flowing underneath video of a woman buying flowers in a market, a man getting into his pickup truck and driving off, another woman going about her house... all of these people smiling. Not a worry in mind.

Obviously they weren't listening to what this guy was saying. Here it is:

"Victoza lowers blood sugar, and should be taken once a day.
An injectable prescription prescription medicine.
It is not recommended as the first medication for Type Two diabetes. It has not been studied with mealtime insulin. (This over a shot of a guy eating)
Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include 
- Swelling of face, lips or throat
- Very rapid heartbeat
- Problems breathing or swallowing
- Lump or swelling in your neck (video: a woman picks up a plant with a lovely flower in it, and smiles)
- Inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, which may be fatal. 
- Severe pain that will not go away in your abdomen or from your abdomen to   your back with or   without vomiting.
- May cause low blood sugar.
- May cause nausea, diarrhea, headache.
- Can lead to dehydration, which may cause kidney problems."

And finally, the clincher:

"Covered by most health plans."

Now I know all medications have side effects to consider. I expect to see them in the paper sheet with the tiny printing that comes with prescriptions. But this one, presented in such a matter of fact manner, seems like a time bomb waiting to go off in your system. And if, by chance, you incur any of the aforementioned side effects, they will certainly say, "Well, we warned you." 

If I ever develope Type II diabetes, I'm going to get 3 milk shakes at Steak 'n Shake during Happy Hour, hit my sugar high, and jump off the Golden Gate Bridge... if I can make it as far as San Francisco. If not, the new Musial Bridge will have to do.

I wish you sweet dreams.


  1. Don't you just love the commercials that sometimes run back to back about T Gel for low testosterone: reassurance that a guy can get it on again ... with all the side effects being addressed in the next commercial by the local lawyers whose commentary is, 'If you've experienced (blah-blah-blah, even death, call us at ... I understand the milk shakes and bridge.

  2. Sweet dreams? If they're too sweet, Gerry, we might need Victoza...