The role of medication in our culture is essentially the way to fix any problem. Balding? There’s a cream for that. Feeling blue? Take a pill. Can’t fight the urge to smoke? Use this patch. One condition in particular that I feel is over medicalized is getting old. To narrow this down, I will take the example of low testosterone in men. Decreasing testosterone levels is a natural part of aging, but where I see a natural process, the pharmaceutical industry saw an opportunity. An so now this exists:
Humorously, over half of the advertisement is a warning that it will make your wife and kids grow mustaches. To me, this demonstrates our cultures value on staying young. Men who want this medication don’t want to get old and have their testosterone levels drop, even though it is a natural part of aging. The commercial talks about it like it is definitely a medical problem and the man describes a conversation with his doctor where he was “diagnosed” with this condition. Luckily, the doctor came through with the solution: Androgel.
This is precisely why pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to market drugs to the public. A person sees this ad and decides that they have low testosterone. At that point it’s over because if they want the drug and their doctor tells them no, they will go to a different doctor. Doctor’s don’t want to lose patients so they say yes, thus perpetuating the problem. Obviously the case is different for some drugs, no doctor will hand out opiates like candy.
As far as other advertising strategies, not only did Androgel raise his testosterone levels, it also got him an attractive companion, a nice classic car, and allowed him to spend all his time at diners and miniature golfing. It paints a portrait of youth that is enticing to the target demographic.