Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A pig in a poke

I have come across various social media photos and posts revealing adverts so preposterous that one often doubts the authenticity of them.

I had not actually conceived the thought of the possibility that there might just be somebody out there who was reading these kind of posts with thoughtful intent to patronize them.

That was until that fateful morning when Mr. Hook (let us call him that), walked into my consulting room. He was in his mid-fifties, of average height and build. There was some discordance between his casual dress style and attitude, and the seriousness of his voice.

"I've come in for my prescription doc, and for a bit of medical advice"

I quickly scan through his regular medication records to check that they were all relevant and appropriate.  Some medicine combinations in his prescriptions suggest to me that he possibly had a recent heart attack.

8 months ago, he confirmed. This had given him a wake-up call to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

"I've stopped smoking, cut down hours in my stressful job, I am eating only healthy stuff..."

"Brilliant! Well done. "

"In fact, that's the other thing I wanted to talk about ."

He brings out an empty medicines box, with a bold label ARTERY CLEANSER.

"It's a fantastic drug," he tells me. "I found it on the internet and want to check that it's okay to take with the rest of my medication".

I look at the box. It has bright colours, instructions to take one daily and an impressive list of potentially curable conditions. It also has an expiry date. Nothing else.

No manufacturers address, no attached leaflet, no ingredients, no scientific information.

"What does it contain?" I ask.

"I thought you could tell me. It says it's a wonderful drug and can cure most of my problems, it's exactly what I need."

I apologize. I have never heard of it before and there is no information for me to go by.

Quite frankly, I am still trying to wrap my head round the mechanism by which one tablet can:
Cure Haemorrhoids, Cause weight loss, Boost libido and sex life, Cure tiredness, Supply oxygen to all your vital organs, Remove all pain and swelling, Repair all your veins and arteries, Strengthen your heart muscles, Improve memory, Banish cellulite.....

Perhaps I was being too scientific about the whole thing and my lack of wider intelligence must have shown on my face.

He looks disappointed. "Maybe you can research it and then give me a call later" he says.

I have to be honest. "I wouldn't advise you to take a tablet with unknown content, especially given your medical history and other medication, it does not sound very genuine to me." (And I am not interested in researching this obvious pig in a poke)

"That's just because you don't know about it. Here's the website." He writes it down for me.

I am too exhausted to argue so agree to look it up......AND I ACTUALLY DO! Over my small pot of olives during lunchtime at my desk, I type in the website details.

Same big colourful logo. There's a picture of a man wearing glasses and a white lab coat, and even longer list of the wonders of the tablet. 100% Guarantee.  Even bigger and brighter, there's a payment instruction.
Click here to BUY NOW! Only £59.99 for 15 tablets.
That's it.

Nothing about what it contains or how it works.

I give Mr Hook a call and tell him not to buy this tablet. He sounds a bit annoyed and says

"Well I'll just make an appointment with Dr. MyRetiringColleague to discuss it then, he has more experience"

I make a note of our conversation in his records, praying briefly that he is being sold a Multivitamin tablet as a worst-case scenario.

It's amazing how gullible people can be when trying to cling on to hopeful solutions.

It is even more amazing how many people are readily waiting to prey on vulnerability.

I go back to my olives.

Shine your eyes, mate!

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