HECOX: Silver linings in pill form - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

HECOX: Silver linings in pill form

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Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:00 am

As the graying of America continues to pick up speed, and with a newly elected President claiming that health care reform is the center of his White House, health and wellness are in vogue like never before. Preventive medicines, then, are at the heart of modern wellness and, sadly, too few use them.

Despite an abundance of medical advice freely given on every TV channel, too many aging Americans exercise only their couch-potato muscles. Too much snacking, too many processed foods and too little walking around spells trouble for millions.

Goaded into good behavior by an industry built on guilt and shame, new parents shovel pills by the handful down their children’s throats – vitamins, anti-allergy medications and so on, chased by glassfuls of milk and Pediasure. To make the vitamins more fun, the medical industry learned long ago that the way to make kids want to take them is to make the product taste look and taste like candy, and to package them that way. Hence, Chewables and Gummies shaped like the Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and even Spider-Man are among the pediatric wellness industry’s giants and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future.

The Ely Lillies, Pfizers and Glaxo-SmithWellcoms of the world should embrace similar methods to get aging Americans to take their medicines too. Who wants to eat anything with unappealing names like Boniva, Pepcid or Flonase? No one, that’s who.

Women entering menopause would likely enjoy taking pills shaped like characters from “Sex on the City” or “Desperate Housewives.” By a stroke of irony, chewables shaped like Ty Pennington from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” could help stave off hot flashes. Much like tequila offers a worm at the bottom, each bottle of Premarin could guarantee at least one tablet shaped like Pennington without his shirt on. It might not help with hot flashes, but still.

HydroxyCut and other weight-loss pills could easily be shaped like Kirstie Alley. Fortunately, most such pills already are.

For older men, challenges to prostates and bladders could be fought with pills shaped like anything from the History Channel. What better way to show Hitler who is boss than by chewing him up every morning to quiet your irritable bowel syndrome? Letting Der Fuhrer goosestep up and down your innards is the thinking patriot’s approach to wellness. Similarly, laxatives shaped like England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain seems very apropos. Your pipes will unclog as easily as he gave away Europe to the Nazis. It’s a history lesson in every flush.

Brace yourself – the 21st century may be paved with hair-loss pills shaped like Bigfoot, cholesterol-fighting statins shaped like Vice President Dick Cheney and erectile dysfunction pills shaped like Pamela Anderson. If you suffer the special problem they mention in the ads – you know, the one that could last more than four hours – no problem. Pills shaped like Rosie O’Donnell will make short work of it.

Silver linings in pill form? The Greatest Generation deserves nothing less. Better yet, thanks to President-elect Obama and the Democratic never-met-an-expensive-idea-they-didn’t-like Congress, Medicare will pay for each and every one of them. With preventive medicine, the silver-haired generation is helping America enter a golden age.

Doug Hecox is a professional comedian and writer. His new CD “Vote For Me” is available at http://www.dougfun.com">www.dougfun.com.

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