All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Another fun-loving philosopher, bring it on!
In our health care arena, we see this sort of thing on an ongoing basis. It can be agonizingly slow, but once that third stage is reached, our standards have changed, and we have a new set of norms. This can be for better or worse, but it does defuse the argumentative side of things.
We have seen this in the changing and evolution of the entire medical profession, and with the influence and growth of the pharmaceutical industry. As an example, medical advertising used to be thought of as unprofessional and would subject the doctor to discipline by the licensing authorities. Even doctor’s office signage was regulated heavily. If you don’t already know where the office is, we can’t help you find it, I guess!
The modern approach is anything but discreet and tasteful. Most marketplaces are flooded with DTC (direct to consumer) advertising for hospitals, procedures, specific medical groups, and, of course pharmaceuticals. This was legalized in the US in 1985 for pharmaceuticals, and in the 1960’s for medical advertising, concurrent with the introduction of the Medicare act.
It’s quite common to see educational opportunities for patients who are suffering from a specific malady to attend the hospital or outpatient facility to receive information about what that facility offers in terms of resolution or relief. Minimally invasive spine surgery, joint replacements, etc. When chiropractors started this concept, in the form of spinal care classes, it was in Schopenhauer’s first stage, so it was ridiculed as hucksterism. Now, it’s normal!
This sort of activity is loosely regulated by the FDA, but it is so widespread and pervasive that it’s nearly impossible to control properly. This new norm has undermined the FDA’s control over over-prescription, patient safety, and has undermined the doctor patient relationship, all unforeseen consequences of loose regulation and overly suggestive and aggressive advertising. This market is estimated at $10B/year on TV alone, generating an estimated 450B impressions in a single year! Endocrine, bone/joint, blood disorders, mental health, GI, you name it.
When I talk to my clients about marketing and messaging, the important point is that there is already a ton of expensive and sophisticated direct advertising and messaging going on in our society, promoting allopathic and especially pharmaceutical treatment models. When we have safer, faster, and cause-related options for patients, we simply have to communicate these as frequently and as persuasively as we can manage. While it’s not possible to compete with Big Pharma on a dollar basis, we can do a great job locally with our communities and patient bases.
Here’s another one from Kierkegaard: Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards. My advice: do not invite these types of guys to your next party!
Here’s a link to WW2 era doctor advertising, one of many of the times.
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