I was away for about a month or so from my Painie work. In my absence I had a “Friend” request on Facebook from Tramadol. I was a little confused – I mean why does Tramadol want to be my Facebook friend?
We as Painies have the constant stigma of Drug addicted lunatics – so maybe they thought “Hey, perfect customer base – a Pain Patient.” I guess when writing their business plan – they felt that directly targeting Pain Patients is a smart and savvy strategy.
Can’t you just see the marketing meeting in your mind? Healthy people sitting around deciding the most effective marketing strategy, to get their drug out there and used. After reaching out to the Primary market of Doctors, Hospitals and other Medical facilities, why not hit the “end user” directly? I mean it makes fiscal sense. We are the ones actually paying for and using the product.
So how do you effectively reach the Painie?
The Internet and Social Media is a Hub for us, isn’t it? I mean we have our discussion sites, groups and forums. Facebook probably being the forefront media forum we use to discuss our personal trials and triumphs. Therefore, it a cost effective way to reach those who suffer from chronic pain; learn about our issues and advertise their drugs.
While this is a savvy business plan – how ethical is it? My personal opinion is; it is not ethical and an irresponsible business practice.
We are vilified for using medicine – especially narcotics – to assist in our overall pain management program. It is so misunderstood that many of us have trouble getting physicians to treat us for pain; families and friends have abandoned us because of narcotic use. How does it help our overall image – if we have Tramadol, Oxycontin, Fentanyl or Percocet as our Facebook Friend?
If the appropriate medication is difficult to get from a Physician; or the Painie is not able to afford medication through insurance – is it responsible to promote a drug that has the potential to be illegally ordered through the Internet? Painies who are desperate to stop their pain – may use skeptical or unorthodox channels to obtain pain relief. Which could cause so many problems like: improper dosages, drug interactions, allergic reactions, reliability of drug composition, criminal charges; just to name a few of the dangers. Also, if a Physician is not monitoring a patient and their balance of pain/dosage – there lies the perfect storm for addiction.
So, is it ethically responsible for a Narcotic to “Friend” a Painie and place a delivery channel right in front of them? Or are they so removed from the actual patient and so close to a big profit margin that our needs are not truly relevant?
Also, while I was away, I had pending comments from people – they seemed legitimate until I saw the URL or return email address. They were from Pharmaceutical companies. So – do I approve those comments on my Blog? Absolutely not. In my opinion it taints my writing and purpose of this Blog. This Blog is a safe place to vent my personal issues regarding living with Chronic Neuropathic Pain – and include the comments and insights from Medical Professionals, Pain Organizations and most importantly fellow Painies. Drug companies will NOT EVER be promoted on my site. Medications should only discussed and dispensed through your Physician not with anyone else.
In conclusion I did not accept Tramadol as my “Facebook Friend”.