Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31: Ban Prescription Drug Advertisements

*Warning: Don't Advertise

President Bill Clinton made his share of bad decisions. One of the worst was allowing the greenlighting of prescription drug advertisements.

Here are two of the latest reasons why:

Both (along with Vioxx and others that have had trouble) have been heavily advertised, with all the bells and whistles. Even if there was nothing wrong, to advertise something a person can't buy without a doctor's prescription is stupid, anyway. Even with the little warnings at the end of the advertisements, there's no point.

Former Sen. John Edwards spoke of banning these advertisements from television, radio, Internet and print. Few politicians have stepped forward to join this call; after all, their pockets are heavily lined with campaign money from these drug companies to keep their cute little ads running.

But each new question about a prescription medication puts another dent in any honest advertising claims. Here's a new warning to all consumers: Pay no attention to those ads. It's time for whoever is the next president to appoint chiefs of the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Communications Commission who will preside over the abolition of those ads. The First Amendment is not an issue here when the public's safety is at stake.

*Gore's New Campaign (No, sorry, not that one....)

Former Vice President Al Gore is still running for climate change with a three-year, $300 million campaign. Even as some pundits suggest him as a compromise candidate to break the Clinton/Obama stalemate, Gore said in an interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes" that he doubts he will ever be a candidate for political office again:

Truthfully, he doesn't need to. The country needs him more than he needs the presidency (or in particular, the headaches of running and governing if he were to win and be allowed to take his seat in the Oval Office).

This writer has been a Gore fan since his first run for the presidency 20 years ago. This writer also believes the 2000 election was stolen from him. There is no telling the mental anguish that Gore and his wife, Tipper (who once discussed a bout with depression) went through in the months and years following that debacle - anguish that, no doubt, influences his views of American politics today.

No one in American politics today is more qualified to be president. Certainly not the current top two Democratic candidates and their naked ambition and ego. This country and the world need Gore for more than the single issue of climate change.

He will do plenty of good with his campaign. The question is whether he can do far more good in the White House, and whether it would be worth it for him to try again. At the moment, there is no one on the horizon with Gore's knowledge about national and world issues.

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