Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Pod Delusion: A Business Proposal Based on Levodyn
I've got a little slot on this week's Pod Delusion, the Podcast About Interesting Things - about 30 mins in.
I thought it might be funny to pitch for the darkside and create a quack product, basing it on recently-ASA-slapped Levodyn.
Give it a listen and let me know if you're in.
Good people of the Pod Delusion, with your righteous anger and desire for truth, equality and defence of the little guy, how would like to toss those pesky morals away and make some dirty money?
I’ll let you in on my plan – just you, mind, don’t go blabbing to everyone, or we’ll be back right back where we started bleating about evidence and morals.
You see, there’s millions of people out there with certain health problems who will buy any old shit that looks convincing. All you have to do is get a few natural herbs – anything’ll do – mash it up, put it in a pill. Get some posh media grad to do some fancy marketing, you know, make it look all contemporary and sophisticated, get a website and bit of advertising and ker-ching, watch the readies roll.
Here let me show you what I mean.
There’s a product called Levodyn, for blood pressure. The US website says it cures high blood pressure naturally. Properly cures. But then has a disclaimer at the bottom in small faint type saying “These products are NOT intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” – can you believe the feds allow that crap? The UK website is a bit cagier – the advertising standards authority has already pulled them up for it. The makers just refused to respond and guess what happened – pretty much nothing! The UK website says it ‘helps’ lower blood pressure, which apparently is fine. There’s a few other bits of bullshit about promoting cardiovascular health, whatever that means.
There’s a few testimonials on there – who knows whether they’re true or not, but punters love that kind of crap, you know “I found this product on the internet and it literally saved my life”. The adverts people asked if the testemonials were true – the levodyn sellers just ignored them!
There’s a load of woolly stuff about science which is enough waffle to go over people’s head but feel science-good – anyone who checks the evidence is not their kind of customer.
The UK medicines watchdog, the MHRA, only give a monkeys if it’s actually got something in there that is going to have a medicinal effect – Levodyn does, but the MHRA decided it wasn’t present in a meaningful amount to bother about, so they don’t care.
The website is a .co.uk website and the product claims to be made and dispatched from UK, so people will have loads of confidence in it – the beauty is that the .co.uk website is registered to a USA address, so MHRA can’t do anything about it anyway!
So, we make up a product, put some natural crap in it, do some marketing, put it on nice, modern, co.uk website registered outside UK, make up a few a sciencey claims that are either meaningless or untestable and watch that pill-poppin public pelt you with pounds. High blood pressure, arthritis, excema, back bad – anything that loads of people suffer from, so we can convert the big numbers into sales. We’re only giving them choice right?
So. Are you in? Come on.... what’s the worst that could happen? Probably some guy does a podcast piece about you, but that’s about it. It’s easy. Ah, suit yourself, you Big Pharma, choice Nazi.