Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Airborne: Yep, it doesn't work

Paul C. just added a comment to an old post:
Did you hear that the courts recently decided that Airborne was essentially useless, and now they'll have to reimburse buyers to the tune of roughly $23 million? When you're right, you're right.
Oh yeah. Sweet, sweet victory. What is it about human psychology that makes so many people trust this stuff while at the same time vilifying the companies that make actual lifesaving medicine? Maybe people wouldn't believe the pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo about vaccines causing autism if instead of getting a painful shot you had an exciting fizzy pill that came in a box with nice, reassuring art by Lloyd Dangle.

10 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:22:00 AM PST, Blogger Noel said...

This might have far-reaching implications. I noticed the other day that regular cold medicines like Halls are now offering "preventative" versions. Brilliant marketing, bad science.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 9:11:00 AM PST, Blogger Donna B. said...

My mom is always on us to take this stuff -- she practically insisted on it when we visited at Christmas. There's something about her attitude toward herbalism, science, and plain old magic I can't figure out. As a fundamentalist Christian, shouldn't she be against witchcraft? Yet one of my most vivid memories from my college years was when she pushed aggressively for us to hire a dowser to search for water on our property. She insisted that it really works.

There's a solid gold blog post in these issues, but my dad reads my blog, so I have to rant about them here.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 9:59:00 AM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I should really read Michael Shermer's "Why People Believe Weird Things."

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 2:57:00 PM PST, Blogger Ted said...

I recommend Shermer's book highly.

I always wondered why the fact that Airborne is "invented by a school teacher" should have convinced us it's good medicine...

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 3:37:00 PM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Yeah, maybe I'm weird, but "Invented by a pharmaceutical researcher" would have more cachet with me.

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:11:00 PM PST, Blogger Jennifer said...

Wearing my pharmacist hat, people are indeed much more likely to believe that herbal remedies are 'safe' while pharmaceuticals are inherently 'bad'. Nevermind that many of the most important drugs have natural origins. It is funny (and sad) how much misinformation is out there about anything related to health. I think this lack of information is one of the biggest contributors to today's skyrocketing health care costs.

-Jen

 
At Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:21:00 PM PST, Blogger Jennifer said...

Now my health economist hat: losses are perceived as having huge effects on utility while gains are perceived to have small effects on utility. In other words, people want to believe the negative about drugs because they overinflate their chances of having an adverse effect while they downplay the benefits from medications. It's human nature...

 
At Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 10:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous clynne said...

The thing I can't get over now are all the people posting in their LJs about the settlement. I am PRETTY DAMN SURE nearly every one of them has either taken Airborne or suggested it to someone who was complaining of the sniffles.

Sheep.

I hate people.

 
At Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 11:54:00 PM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Not me! Or, at least, the most I've done is tried it a couple of times when somebody else said, "here, try this," and never noticing any subsequent health improvement.

 
At Friday, March 7, 2008 at 1:48:00 PM PST, Anonymous clynne said...

Yeah, I meant, except you.

I haven't mentioned it in my LJ because I wouldn't be able to stop myself from going "DUR YOU MORONS."

 

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