Writing in the Saturday (how to make it look like you’re rich edition) of the Wall Street Journal, Marisa Acocella Marchetto mentions an expensive, branded drug–Nexium–eight times. She even mentions its slogan (“the purple pill”)!
As Mark has written elsewhere, it’s moronic to take Nexium because there are cheaper, efficacious alternatives, such as Prilosec, which is available over the counter. Consumer Reports noted in 2010 that Nexium was the most expensive PPI, at $248 a month, and that cheaper generics and over the counter medicines were available.
In the story, she describes being trapped on an airplane without her precious Nexium and in serious pain (why not try something that would immediately stop the pain, such as Tums?). She begs for Nexium, and lo–another passenger has a doctor misinformed enough to prescribe it. But the evil flight attendant won’t let her have it, falsely believing that Marchetto was having a heart attack. Finally, there is an emergency landing, and an Irish physician treats her and “handed [her] a Nexium.” How convenient!
I wonder why the editors of the Journal allowed this specific and expensive product to be mentioned so many times. Ironically, if she had simply asked for a antacid, she would have had been given Maalox by the flight attendant. Problem solved. The entire article could have been rewritten: “How I caused an international flight to be diverted because I demanded to be provided an expensive prescription drug by a flight attendant and how if I had just asked for an antacid everything would have been fine.”
The article makes me recall the time I was in Atlanta airport, and the person in front of me asked a cashier, “all you have is water–don’t you have Dasani?” It’s that type of stupidity that keeps brands alive and wastes billions of consumer dollars.
Full disclosure: although I mentioned Nexium(R) numerous times in this blog post, I have not received any material support from AstraZeneca nor am I taking the Purple Pill and washing it down with Dasani.