America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
AMA Recommends New Placebo for Common Cold
By E. Wohn
31 October 2015
CHICAGO - As part of a nationwide campaign to stem the over-prescription of antibiotics, the American Medical Association recently recommended the prescription of AntiBiox+, a new placebo with limited side effects.
To support its recommendation, the AMA also released a training video to assist doctors in dealing with patients who demand antibiotics when none are needed. The AMA believes this to be the first step in the fight to curb the rampant unnecessary use of antibiotics, which has resulted in an unprecedented and dangerous number of antibiotic resistant bacteria without any meaningful rise in profits for pharmaceutical companies.
Based on a recent AMA survey, physicians often fail to convince obstinate patients that antibiotics need to be mindfully prescribed and are not effective for viral or mild bacterial infections. These patients often refuse to leave doctors’ offices without a prescription and thereby waste, collectively, thousands of hours, which physicians now claim is the main cause of waiting room and hospital delays.
The AMA has no official position on the cause of physician waiting room delays in the centuries preceding the antibiotic epidemic. However, the AMA recommends that the term ‘waiting room’ should be taken more seriously by the general public, who should also recall the etymology of the word patient (from the Latin for ‘suffering’)
Recent studies note that part of the problem lies in the fact that millions of Americans believe they know more about medicine than the most accomplished of physicians. These ‘unlicensed practitioners’, if you will, hold out for all manner of medical intervention and procedures despite any evidence of need other than their most recent Internet search. Compare this to the legal profession, where the unauthorized practice of law is a punishable offense, and where lawyers are currently lobbying Congress to make it subject to the death penalty. There are few alternatives available to the medical profession when diplomacy fails.
Given the severity of the antibiotic problem and the recently established, though long suspected, finding that 87.2% of doctors lack effective diplomatic skills, the AMA revised its long-standing placebo rules. Those rules previously prohibited doctors from dispensing placebos without disclosing to the patient that they are being given sugar pills. Secretly dispensing placebos was only allowed in clinical trials or close family experiments.
So earlier this year, the AMA partnered with Nestle to create a very large, foul tasting, tongue-numbing, teeth-staining sugar pill AntiBiox+TM that may or may not cause extreme gastrointestinal distress, partial paralysis, impotence, and premature hair loss.
AntiBiox+ is the flagship of a new suite of placebos called the AARP or Antibiotic Addiction Resistance Program, which can be secretly dispensed to a patient as ‘antibiotics’ if, in the doctor’s opinion, real antibiotics are not warranted and the patient is a tool. The AARP acronym was purposefully chosen as most patients recognize it, and while they’re not exactly sure what it means, they trust it. Those who suffer from AntiBiox+’s side effects may be prescribed AntiBiox++TM, another placebo that may soothe the GI tract and trigger hair growth. However, taking AntiBiox+ and AntiBiox++ together is contraindicated.
The AMA training video is not a reenactment. Cameras followed the efforts of several doctors as they attempted to dissuade their patients’ unwarranted requests for antibiotics. Patients signed waivers agreeing to the filming of their office visits as long as their faces were digitally pixilated to protect them from identification. One doctor in particular stood out as the most effective in the use of the AARP placebos. His filmed office visit was chosen as the AMA’s first training video.
Transcript of How to Prescribe AntiBiox+
The Video: Scene opens in a hospital emergency cubicle with a doctor in a white lab coat standing next to an examination table. Sitting on that table is a man dressed in a blue backless hospital gown and mid-calf black socks. He is arranging several medical ID bracelets on his wrist.
Doctor: “Frank, I’m sorry you won’t take my advice to simply ride out this mild cold you seem to have.”
Frank: “I’ve been sniffling for hours. I need something to kill this wicked bug. What I need, Doctor Naikrovek, is a strong antibiotic.”
Doctor: “As I’ve mentioned several times, Frank, the bug you have is viral. Antibiotics won’t help you, just a few days of rest and some over-the-counter cold medicine will be most effective.”
Frank: “And as I’ve told you, Doc, I’m not leaving empty handed. I know what my body needs.”
The doctor hands the patient a trophy-sized vial of pills. Each pill is about the size of a small apricot and smells slightly sulfurous.
Doctor: “This is one week’s supply, Frank. You’ll need to take these five times a day for a month. Make sure it’s on an empty stomach, two hours before and one hour after a meal, space them exactly apart and don’t eat any foods that contain the letter A.”
Frank: “Five time a day spaced exactly apart? What is that like every 5 hours – even at night?”
Doctor: “No, no no! Frank. It’s every 4.8 hours, exactly, and yes even at night. Any deviation from that schedule or food in the stomach renders the pill ineffective. I don’t want you to die, Frank.”
Frank: “Oh my God. I don’t want to die either. You have me really worried now. But how do I arrange my meals around that?”
Doctor: “Extremely carefully, Frank. You may have to quit your job. Just for a month or two.”
Frank: “And no foods that begin with an A?”
Doctor: “No, no, no, Frank. Not foods that begin with an A. Foods that contain the letter A.”
Frank: “So no steak, or strawberries or apples, or wow, I’m having a hard time thinking of foods that don’t have an A.”
Doctor: “Liver, Frank. You could have lots of liver. And be especially careful of steak, it’s also a meat, so that’s two letter As. Might even be fatal.”
Frank: “Fatal. Oh God!”
Doctor: “Just kidding Frank. It’s not always fatal. But the risk of side effects doubles when you eat the wrong foods.”
Frank: “What side effects?”
Doctor: “It’s all in this three page, micro font brochure that comes with the pills. But let’s go through the most common: change of sexual orientation, which may become permanent, left leg paralysis which may become permanent, retinal detachment, which may lead to blindness, which is almost always permanent, sudden irreversible onset of male pattern baldness…”
Frank: “Those sound awful,”
Doctor: “They’re an absolute riot, Frank, when you add them all together.”
Frank: “Are you sure this is worth it, I mean I only have a sore throat. Maybe I should ride this thing out, Doctor. In fact I can’t even feel my throat right now.”
Doctor: “Well, Frank, they’re right here if you decide you need them. Keep me posted on those sniffles.”
The AARP video is already showing signs of success, so much so that the AMA is now considering a placebo for patients who request diet pills. These pills would also come with a long list of side effects, in this case triggered by lack of activity, French fries and ice cream.
E. Wohn is a female attorney who spends most of her time trying to get the last word. She is the product of a very large and dysfunctional family and is nailing her 19th year of therapy.