All these pharma ads on TV cause pain | Mann Overboard

Bill Mann
Posted 6/21/23

Ask your doctor about … getting rid of DTC (direct-to-consumer) TV pharma ads. Or at least, ignoring them.

TV drug ads are everywhere, like the proverbial cheap suit. They’re   …

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All these pharma ads on TV cause pain | Mann Overboard


Ask your doctor about … getting rid of DTC (direct-to-consumer) TV pharma ads. Or at least, ignoring them.

TV drug ads are everywhere, like the proverbial cheap suit. They’re  the mother’s milk of revenue for TV and cable networks. Along with pickup truck ads.

If I weren’t able to DVR all the news shows I watch and speed past these things, I’d need to start taking those for depression. They do have creative names, though, like Gemtesa, which sounds more like a little girl’s name than an incontinence drug.

And Flonase? Wasn’t she an Olympic sprinter? Trelegy? Sounds like a three-part series.

Ingrezza sounds like an Italian entree, one you can’t eat before operating heavy machinery. And VyVgart? A Norse god … or a good Scrabble word?

Speaking of which, many of these things start with X, for some reason, like Xarelto. Or they include X’s, like Cosentyx, Farxiga, or CoSentyx. All good for high scores in Scrabble.

Then there’s one with the cute little box, Cologuard, which not only detects polyps, but is also shown watering your lawn and accompanying you to a baseball game. And Vabysmo? Sounds like female macho.

But the most annoying of all is the currently ubiquitous ad for Jardiance, which has a plus-size lady doing a costume change then dancing merrily in front of a bigger cast than the street scene in “The Blues Brothers.” It’s “the little pill with the big story to tell.” Tremendous.

I didn’t even know what A1C was, which is highlighted here, until a few weeks when mine was diagnosed as too high. I won’t be taking Jardiance for it.

Maybe my favorite ad is the one for male curative Xiaxflex (another high-score Scrabble word) which uses bent carrots as a clumsy metaphor to represent curvature of the male John Thomas, to use the decorous Brit term.

Which is also a good metaphor for the effect all these annoying, ubiquitous pharma ads have on me — they bend me out of shape.

— Like many of you, we now have cute fawns scampering about our yard. The word “fawn” always reminds me of an unseen coed named Fawn Liebowitz in “Animal House.” Fawn was a student at Emily Dicksinson College who was tragically killed in a kiln explosion while firing a pot in the kiln in Sylvia Plath Hall. Funny bit.

— We just learned that Pat Sajak is leaving “Wheel of Fortune” next season after 40-plus years emceeing the mediocre but popular show. Awww. When I mentioned to someone recently that I’d once had a promotional luncheon at a fancy San Francisco hotel with Sajak and cohort Vanna White, I was asked what I remembered about it. Nothing at all, I answered. Nada. And I wasn’t spinning.

— Following up the item in my last column about Deer Park Road being a good viewpoint alternative to the then-closed Hurricane Ridge, an Olympic National Park ranger told me that yes, Deer Park is open, “but I wouldn’t drive up there. Too crowded, too dangerous, people driving too fast on that narrow road.” Duly noted.

— My biggest disappointment this summer is Seattle’s world-class Gilbert & Sullivan troupe looking for a new theater for its elegant, fun productions (Bagley Wright Theater is remodeling) and it wasn’t able to stage one of those great comic operas this summer after 70 seasons. A real shame.

— From The Onion: “Trump Denies Storing Documents In Bathroom, saying, ‘Just Because A Room Has A Toilet Doesn’t Make It A Bathroom.” More documented humor, this from New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz: “Mar-a Lago Dinner Guests Wondered Why Menus Contained Missile Sites.”

— Wooden humor, from a Leader reader. On a tavern reader board: “A termite walks into a bar and asks, ‘Is the Bar Tender Here?” Rim shot!

— The recent death of the Unabomber reminded me of a funny David Letterman line when Ted K. was sentenced: “They took this guy out of an 8x8 shack and put him in a 6x10 cell. Boy, I guess they showed HIM.”

— Rule of the road, from George Carlin: “Every time you slam on the brakes, you’re  putting your life in your feet’s hands.”

— Finally, this classic line from the witty Dorothy Parker: “Heterosexuality is not normal. It’s just common.”

(PT humorist Bill Mann has been a columnist at the San Francisco Examiner, Montreal Gazette, and Oakland Tribune. Reach out to him at