Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Clinical Conspiracy

“The Today Show,” just like all the news, sometimes offers TMI as I sit and sip my morning joe. However now and again, I can find topics to sink my teeth into that I consider relevant and blogworthy.

During the 8 o’clock hour I listened in on a discussion that gave me impetus to finish writing a blog that I had started more than two weeks ago. Spurred by a WSJ article Matt Lauer led a discussion about the pronounced increase in dodging the doctor. Joined by medical expert Dr. Nancy Snyderman and finance editor Jean Chatsky, this group confirmed that making fewer routine doctor visits or being more discerning in general was tied to unemployment, loss of health care benefits, and health care plans with high deductibles.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman said people are making their own healthcare choices. For example, elective surgeries are being put off. Manageable health problems, however, are dismissed until they snowball into a more serious and therefore more expensive problem. She urged viewers to not skimp on child immunizations, dental hygienist visits, and blood pressure and cholesterol screening. Jean Chatsky said that health fairs can be a great place to sign up for some free basic screenings.

And this hot topic brought me back to the clinical conspiracy which I discovered about two weeks ago while sauntering through the personal care aisles at Target. Maybe I was late to the wave, but I was struck by the abundance of over the counter formulas that are labeled “clinical.” Toothpaste, deodorant, and face serums took on a stronger prescribed health care twist rather than being simply cosmetically unique, arousingly aromatic, or just plain new. When wetness starts to look like wellness, I am interested.

So not only are people being more discerning about what ailments are appropriate to bring to a doctor’s attention, they are self-medicating with products that are touted as one step below prescription strength. Someone who has an excessive perspiration problem can now go out and attempt to tame the sweat with a super strength clinical antiperspirant. He may spend precious time masking a more serious health lurker or stress related occurrence that can have more serious ramifications.

Is clinical really new or is it just the marketing of it that seems spanking? Haven’t clinical trials always been helpful in pumping out formulas for the general public. Aren’t over the counter products tested in labs and by doctors. I grew up, afterall, in the 4-out-of-5-dentists-surveyed generation.

And’s my ad pitch for clinical deodorant:
Played to the tune of Olivia Newton John’s breakaway 1981 hit "Physical," a Newton John look-alike appears in her work out wear, legwarmers, and headband singing “Let’s get clinical. I wanna get clinical.” In one version she is alone dancing with the energy of a Flashdancer, fade out, silence and then we just see the bottle with a simple tag line. In another version our deodorant mascot dances and sings her way through a series of Jack-and-Jill bathrooms dropping off the gift of clinical deodorant to unsuspecting people in need.

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