Several weeks ago I participated in a study for a drug company ad. I did not know ahead of time what I was being recruited to do, which is probably a good thing.
Before I continue, permit me a short rant: I hate TV drug ads. Really HATE them. Who wants to watch late stage baby boomers (us!) sitting on the beach holding hands or playing with their dog (always a Golden Retriever) while some guy whispers in a rapid fire undertone a list of possible side effects that includes possible head explosions and alien abductions? And then I am supposed to do what with this wonderful information? Go ask my doctor to prescribe it? Like she wouldn’t know without my asking? Has anybody ever actually done that (well, other than for Viagra)? Would you want to be friends with, or even converse with, anyone who did? And don’t get me started on the new disease acronyms they invent. Hey Big Pharma, here’s an acronym for you. STFU and lower the price of the drugs for us consumers.
So where was I? Oh, yeah, the study.
It was a suprisingly good experience and I will be curious to see what the ad finally looks like. The study was for a print ad for a Parkinson’s drug. I participated from the comfort of my home, using my computer with a video hook-up to the interviewer. The different concepts presented were interesting. I thought that only one of the six ads presented actually addressed what the drug was for. The others were trying to create an “image” for the drug. One showed a very healthy person with (of course) a Golden Retriever, another looked like a Beer ad, and yet another belonged in a Women’s magazine 50 years ago. They asked for my opinion and I was very candid about what I thought worked and didn’t work and why. I hope that they are actually listening to us when they create the final ad.
If you are asked to participate in a focus group study for a drug company, please say yes and make sure that they know how you feel about these ads. They really serve no purpose for us as patients. We get the information we need about new drugs and treatments from reliable sources on the internet and our doctors. We don’t need the drug companies to tell us what we should be taking. If their drugs really work to combat PD, we will know about them and ask for them without being subjected to these ads.