Normally I write about cannabis medicine, and today I’m going to as well, but much of what I say can really be applied to all medications. Marketing medications to patients leads to patient anxiety, less good health outcomes, and increased cost of care. They only winners are the sellers. Read on from Boston medical marijuana doctor Jordan Tishler to better understand the risks and the reason we shouldn’t let this continue!
Drug Marketing Takes Advantage of You
Why do drug companies market to patients in the first place? The answer is that for the most part, we have data on how their marketing negatively affects quality of care and medical decision-making among practitioners. As a result, over the past 30 years or so, we’ve seen institutions prohibit on-site marketing to clinicians. Gone are the days of sponsored lunches, nice meals at fancy restaurants, and even paid vacations. Good riddance. As the beneficiary of a few of these events early in my career, I can say they were nice and fun, but way too much cost to my soul.
Who is left? Patients! Then you get those lovely T.V. commercials with all the smiling people who look just like you having fun despite whatever is supposedly wrong with them. The announcer tells you that this medicine is just the ticket, and then sotto voce there’s that long, very rapid list of side effects and risks you’re not supposed to notice.
Protecting Patients Is the Most Important Thing
You notice them, of course, but even if you could hear them, what do they really mean? There’s no context. You really have no idea how bad they are and what the likelihood of your getting them is. That’s the point. They know you’ll basically disregard those details because you fundamentally want it to work. This drives patients to demand these medications regardless of their practitioners’ best advice. Clinicians don’t want to argue, they want happy patients, and they don’t often have time to get into lengthy discussions (which is another problem with our healthcare system). Often it’s just easier to prescribe that med. Drug companies bank on this.
The reality is that patients are sick. They are often not feeling well and can be easy prey. As a society we don’t treat patients just like everyone else. Caveat Emptor does not apply. Patients are a protected class. Drug companies are tightly regulated in how they can market to patients – just not tightly enough.
The Cannabis Industry Is Just (If Not More) Shady
The cannabis industry has taken this direct to patient marketing to new depths. This new industry is not regulated much at all, beyond basic safety concerns. Further, the industry is happy to have we, physicians and scientists, say how useful cannabis can be, but immediately moves to marginalize us if we dare speak about proper guidance for dose, use, or other aspects that might limit their sales.
For example, strain types. Perhaps you’re aware that there are over 7000 named types of cannabis. The industry has a vested interest in your belief that each type is unique and that all you have to do is try all 7000 to find the one that’s perfect for you. See where this is going? That sells a lot of weed, but in reality we know that the difference between strains has little or nothing to do with medical benefits of marijuana.
Similarly, the Indica vs. Sativa categorization is known to be utter bunk. Yet, if they can convince you that Sativas are for day time and Indicas are for night, they can sell you twice as much weed.
Heck, CBD is the perfect product. Look at all the hoopla in the press about the wonders of CBD. It sells like hotcakes. Yet, we know that at low doses (which is all that’s available) it’s a placebo. At high doses it can interact dangerously with conventional meds, and may even cause liver damage on its own. Yet the sellers have convinced people, who convinced Congress to make it freely available without even waiting for the FDA to develop testing and product guidelines.
This is America at a low point. This is not how we treat and protect patients. This is about greed.
So, what are you to do? Seek knowledgeable and caring guidance from physicians who have dedicated their entire lives to understanding and treating human illness. Listen to your doctor, ask them hard questions, expect them to listen to you, and work together, as a team, for your best health.
Consult With Our Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Doctor Today
Those who are considering using cannabis medicine should consult with our Massachusetts medical marijuana physician who has years of experience helping patients use medical marijuana. I have spent years assisting patients with a variety conditions use cannabis safely and effectively, and can help you determine if medical marijuana is right for you. For more information, or to set up a consultation with my team at InhaleMD, call us at (617) 861-8519 today.