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Truth or Deception: Unraveling the World of Advertising Claims

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

I can think back to a time when drug manufacturers and the big pharmaceutical companies couldn’t advertise their products on television. Back before the internet even existed. When doctors would recommend home remedies and the pharmacist was well respected. It was a much simpler time…when Tylenol was just Tylenol.

Now there is Tylenol PM. Tylenol Extra Strength. Tylenol Sinus Severe. Tylenol Arthritis. Tylenol Gel Caps. Tylenol Muscle Aches and Pain. Tylenol Ultra Relief. Tylenol Cold and Flu Severe…etc. etc. etc.

What’s the difference between Lotrimin AF for athletes’ foot and Lotrimin AF for jock itch? Twenty cents. It’s the same stuff, but for some reason one costs twenty cents more.

There are now products on the market that contain ingredients that aren’t even related to the brand names on the package. It all gets very confusing. If only there were a healthcare professional out there to help you navigate these things (hint: I am one).

I have seen the evolution of direct-to-consumer advertising…and it is not pretty. Bombarded with commercial after commercial with a really long drug name and a laundry list of potential side effects.

Ask your doctor about [insert long drug name here]…it’s a medication that you most likely don’t need. It’s a medication with many side effects for a condition that can most likely be cured with lifestyle changes. But, without knowing any better, you ask your doctor about [insert long drug name here] since the commercial was talking about symptoms that you have.

Some doctors are just too tired to argue that you don’t need the medication. The system has worn them down. They know that you don’t need the medication. They know that lifestyle choices are the most likely culprit for the symptoms you are experiencing. Maybe when they were recent grads, they would have talked to you about alternatives to writing that prescription. Now they are just tired. So, they write a prescription for something you don’t actually need.

Pharmaceutical companies know that they can market their “me too” drugs to doctors and they will prescribe them. Pharmaceutical companies know they can market their drugs to consumers, and they WILL ask their doctor. Pharmaceutical companies also know that they can offer a free trial card with your first prescription, because once you take their “miracle drug” you will want to stay on it to help your symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies also know that the medication can cause certain side effects, so what better way to make more money than to also market a drug for those side effects.

Around and around we go on the drug carousel. Are we all doomed to keep going in this perpetual loop?


There is a “new” movement to go back to the old. Back to basics. Back to simpler times. Back to using food as medicine. Back to lifestyle modifications and less reliance on prescription medications.

I encourage you to seek out healthcare professionals who see the value of the old ways of doing things. I encourage you to find lifestyle medicine practitioners, functional medicine practitioners, pharmacists trained to see beyond the pills. Pharmacists who aren’t afraid to tell you not to get a pill, or elixir, or cream. Choose healthcare practitioners who talk to you about what foods you are eating, how your gut health is, and how much you move each day.

The truth is, pharmaceutical companies and food companies have paid a lot of money to market their products to the unsuspecting consumers (like you)! They have done a lot of research about what makes people tick. They tap into sociology and psychology to figure out how best to manipulate you. This is yet another reason to reduce your exposure to electronic devices.

Don’t let them win! Choose to PIVOT to functional health and wellness!

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