I bought Cooking Light in the airport yesterday to while away the layover between planes. Then, waiting for my lunch to arrive, I began flipping through it and became confused. True, there were wonderful photos of the summer recipes this issue features: peach and prosciutto canapés, grilled salad with sweet corn and crab, spiced chicken and couscous.
But what seemed to run counterpoint to healthy eating were the multiple page ads for various drugs. Perhaps the ad for over-the-counter fish oil opposite the table of contents should have been a clue, but I didn’t get it. Nor did I pay much attention to the Omega 3 ad opposite four no-cook tomato soup recipes.
But immediately after page 39, there was a three-page advertisement for Xeljanz, a prescription medicine for adults with moderate to severe arthritis. Most of the text concerned the possible side effects. Then, following page 47, another three page ad promoted Belviq, “an FDA-approved prescription weight-loss medication that, when used with diet and exercise, can help some overweight adults with a weight-related medical problem . . .” Again, more information on side effects.
Opposite the stuffed heirloom tomato recipe, were two pages devoted to Premarin to help women whose hot flashes are interfering with their lives. And in the rest of the magazine were additional pages advocating more drugs to relieve constipation, acute depression, type 2 diabetes, COPD, vaginal pain, irregular heartbeat, and Crohn’s disease.
I understand people with these problems benefit from eating healthy meals, and I also get that pharmaceutical companies help underwrite the magazine with their big advertising dollars. But there is a distinct disconnect for me between the editorial content and these ads, especially when much of the text is about the side effects. Couple that with the fact that one can buy ingredients for recipes without a prescription but can’t purchase any of these drugs that way.
I wonder if I’m being used.