Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pfizer, The Dignity of Age

"The dignity of age... the wisdom of experience... the pleasures of reflection - these are but a few of the blessings that come with the passing of the years."

A simple and elegant ad about the wonders of Pfizer's miracle drugs from when Americans were not afraid of growing up and growing older. This ad explains how those golden years have grown in number due to Pfizer. Drugs for physical and mental ailments, but so that even in old age, you can take on the mighty Redwoods. They stand strong forever and so can you. Gauging the crowd at a senior apartment complex or seeing the empty visiting rooms at nursing homes, old age does not happen with much dignity anymore. What percent of the elderly over 80 have a quality of life you'd want? How many of those miserably still alive are alive due to the miracle drugs of Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Merck? Remove the drugs and how long do they last? My grandmother lived as a shell for the last year or so, and once the daily maintenance medication was removed for her myriad of ailments, she lasted one week. They lost a good customer there.

The economist and conspiracy theorist in me will say Big Pharma created many drugs as a wealth transfer from the incredibly wealthy, aging GI Generation to their pockets rather than their families. It's more likely the compounding of the best intentions. With the best intentions, medicines were created. With the best intentions, they were sold to wealthy customers. With the best intentions, we covered more through Medicare so it was not just rich old people who enjoyed the benefits and pharma firms received more income (not quite "covered" as states claw back for some meds). With the best intentions, families put parents through the wringer. To cite the Pfizer tagline, these months or years are not dignified, wisdom is rarely put to use and there is limited pleasure in reflection - none in the minds of those afflicted with dementia and Alzheimers.

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