We bring the FAST and laughs to pharmacy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ancient Chinese Secret (or was it Japanese?)

I stay up late, very late, which affords me the luxury of infomercials. Man, Ron Popeil is a late night icon. Who could survive without a pocket fisherman or my favorite a rotisserie cooker. I actually bought that one and it cooks some awesome meat. Basically a lot of those items end up in our "As Seen On TV" sales section at McDruggie's and sometimes other counseling nightmares from TV appear.

I was horrified to see a h-u-g-e display of Kinoki foot pads in front of the entrance to the store on my way out yesterday morning. I only noticed it because a manager was staring at it in deep thought. I felt it my obligation to save this man $20.

1. The human body has its own waste disposal systems that do not excrete through the feet. We are not trees rooted in the ground. This "reasoning" would be sound if we were rooted but we are not. There are arteries that carry blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every extremity of the body and conversely there are veins that return this blood carrying waste products to the spleen, liver, kidneys, and lungs for breakdown and/or disposal (depends on the site, for example the lungs exchange carbon dioxide waste for nutrient oxygen). We pee and poop to get rid of most wastes. If we sent out waste like trees we would simply bleed to death.

2. If you are hemorrhaging through the feet you should be in the ICU at your closest hospital.

3. Slick graphics, a good presentation and "miraculous" testimonials do not make a good product THEY MAKE A GOOD SELL. Make people think they need it, fortify it with "ancient orient secrets" and put a pretty package on it and it will sell because people are stupid. How many of you owned a pet rock??? Well, it made someone a multi-millionaire and I never bought one...

4. Cellulite does not come out of pores in the feet. These fatty tissue cells are far too large to pass through the skin barrier. What analysis did they use to know it was cellulite? A circle on a graphic? That is bullshit! It is preying upon the millions of suckers who buy things that will make them thin while eating everything they want. It does not work that way so put down the doughnut and take a long walk. Dietary changes and exercise are the only REAL way to lose and keep off weight.

5. They show a graphic of "toxins" in human hair follicles. What were the amounts measured and what methodology was used for testing? I guarantee if they tested hair follicles from someone who dyes it the "toxins" will come up in vastly different amounts that someone with their natural hair color. And seriously, were these people working in a waste disposal plant? Most people will never have any of these "toxins" in the body unless they work around them for a living.

6. The testimonial from the lady with migraines is complete bullshit. The foot pads did not make the migraines go away. It is a scientific fact that stress and lack of sleep can increase frequency and intensity for many migraine sufferers. This dumb ass fell for the placebo effect. She "knew" it would work which helped her sleep at night and decrease her stress levels because the "magic" foot pads were detoxing her body and soul. Dumb ass.

7. Ignorance is bliss. Medically that is what we like to call the placebo effect. I could give you a piece of candy every day for a month and tell you that it will relax you. You will believe this and be calmer, sleep better, and feel better but nothing has changed but your perception of how to feel after taking the candy "pill" that I gave you. This always shows up in scientific research. There has not been a study done on people that has not shown this effect. It does not happen with lab animals because they do not perceive things the same way we do so there is no gullibility in the data, only cold hard scientific fact.

8. We have been programmed by advertisers to want more, want better, want fast and not complain about the expense or the lack of quality or results from the promise. It is like finding out how an illusion works so the next time you see it you are completely disappointed. Mac Air? Anyone who spends $1700 on a thin computer that doesn't even have DVD burning capabilities is a dumb ass. F-U Steve Jobs, it won't be a good gaming computer either. What a rip-off. Oh, don't forget the first generation iphone and ipod touch....wastes of money that sold millions only to be replaced by a nicer model or price reduction later.

9. I have started to ramble and abuse my digital soap-box so I will wrap it up now.

There used to be a saying that "the proof is in the pudding." That was from way back before Jell-O instant pudding when you had to actually cook it on a stove without burning it or making a sickly rubbery mess. I don't think that one applies anymore....cooking pudding, what a heresy, thanks Jell-O! My warning will be this: Trust no one. This includes advertisers, politicians, reporters, celebrities, blogs (because they can be set up by an advertiser to promote a product, mostly movies, I really f**king hate when they do that), and sources that are poorly documented. Trust only thorough research. There are many consumer advocacy groups that test products for you. Consumer Reports is the best but there are many more. Shop smart and do some research before you waste your money, hopes, and expectations on "magic" and empty promises or testimonials.


NY pharmacy intern said...

I hate those stupid foot pads, I get people coming into the pharmacy asking if they really work all the time. Of course the people who tend to buy crap like the foot pads tend to believe just about anything. Of course I've also seen someone claim to have a "detoxifying machine" one time at my college's health faire. It was an EKG machine, but according to the idiot pushing the machine(happened to own one of the local herb/natural health store) claimed that it was not an EKG and used electrical current to cleanse your body of toxins and impurities.

Also the body does use the lungs to elimate some drugs, or at least part of them via volitle gases; of course this may be 0.1% of a dose of a few drugs. Same thing with the skin, nothing of real signifigance when you are working out the pharmacokinetics of the meds.

Oh, and as I was writing this that stupid commercial just came on and it's "ancient japanese reflexology". Still makes it snake oil being pushed.

DanTech said...

Do you know how people tend to think that if one is good two must be better? I could see someone using several of those pads on their body and looking like an idiot.

Phathead said...

ya know I think the big question is, are you gonna be gellin' with those on?

I'm pretty sure I could cut some foot shaped pieces of cardboard out, slap some foreign symbols on it and convince people it cures cancer. And sell it for 50 bucks a pop too.

Teri Robert said...

Bless you for saying what I've wanted to say many, many times! Love your style! Thanks so much.


Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

Even shittier, McDruggie's now makes its own knock off of Simalsan homeopathy eye and ear drops. I vow to never EVER recommend them or sell them to anyone...because I don't sell magic water and wishes....

NY pharmacy intern said...

At least the pharmacist's are not telling patients to use those eye/ear drops I hope. As soon as I see "homeopathic" I usually am going to associate it with flushing money down the toliet. I've gotten into a debate with a homeopath in one of my electives over the validity of everything he was pushing. Somehow diluting things more makes them more potent and 10^30 dilution is the minimum dilution you should use, at least according to the guy. Somehow going past avagadro's number, meaning you have 0 molecules of active substance, is suppose to cure you because "water has memory and remebers the shape of the active ingredient molecule(s)." The guy had arguments that held as much water as a seive but every hole you poked into his argument he just told you to ignore that and just believe what he told you.

Anonymous said...

It's plain irritating to hear that something is touted that comes from some ancient Eastern culture with an extensively developed philosophy. Not that many people know about Japanese reflexology or anything Japanese in the context of living there so, snake oil hucksters seem to get away with whatever they want to say to sell their product until the stuff is investigated further. Heck, the website throws around words like 'Professor', 'Tel-Aviv, and Hebrew university', 'toxins',
'antioxidants, 'heavy metals',
'FDA','cadmium', especially 'sex',
etc., like magic incantations or divining words. I guess that's why pharmacists in the US have extensive credentialing in order to be called pharmacists, and that's also why there are occasional lawsuits about others in the pharmacies that might appear to be posing as pharmacists.

You see the ads all the time in the back of 'pseudo-scientific' magazines even, not naming any names of course, for pherenomes, tea oil, various notrums, and conundrums.

I have to laugh out loud every time I hear on the radio about some Dr Such and Such giving advice at the natural foods shop or, seeing patients in partnership with a chiropractor. Like, wow, did the 'Dr' come in the box of natural granola, or what?

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I had a lady ask about those a few weeks ago also. When I told her it was all a bunch of hoo-ha, she became indignant with my stupidity and demanded, "Then why do you think they turn black??"

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

My theory on why they turn black: If the pads are labeled day 1, day 2, etc then there is a chemical in the first few that changes to a dark color from the pH change induced by foot sweat. I refuse to waste $20 to find out if I am right but I am sure someone knows the truth...

Anonymous said...

The best part is in the commercials, they say a tree absorbs nutrients in the leaves and excretes waste via the roots. Trees do not work that way. Nutrients get pulled up by the roots, and waste is released from the leaves, as a tree is, biologically speaking, a living straw. Come for the BS homeopathy, stay for the failed Bio 101.