Monday, February 06, 2006

Let’s Talk About Herpes.

by Pharma Bawd

This is a very strange case of blog-imitating-life-anticipated-by-advertising. Maybe advertisers really have learned how to read our minds to target advertising based on our thoughts. To tell you the truth, I expected it to come from Google first.

It’s all my fault really, I suggested we drop the Google Adsense ads in protest of Google agreeing to censor its search results for the Chinese government. (The only reason we have the ads is in hopes of generating enough revenue to pay for a hosted domain instead of using blogspot.) So we signed up with Crispads

Join the CrispAds Blog Advertising Network!
(Yes, we may get $.50 if you ad CrispAds to your blog through that referral.)

We posted the code into the template and our new ad appeared. Now, don’t take this or any subsequent posts as a suggestion that you click on the ad. I mean, click on it if you want, or not, depending on your interest in the advertisement itself. Don’t interpret this as me encouraging you to click the ad. Do so if you want, but not because I said to. Because I didn’t. I just draw attention to it because it’s strange. No, not the subject of the ad itself, although it is a subject that rarely comes up in most people’s casual conversations or blog posts. The odd thing is I’ve been preparing to write about Herpes.

Orac seems to have a lot of fun debunking “alternative” medicine treatments like chelation therapy for autism and the like. These posts are a valuable public service frankly. Even a well-educated laymen can’t be expected to recognize every sham product, snake oil, and patent medicine offered on the internet at first glance. So, I thought maybe I would get in on the act talking about some “alternative medicines” and their pharmaceutical counterparts. But which one? I thought about writing about some of the most highly “Googled” pharmaceuticals but those turn out to be things like Oxycodone, Xanex, Viagra, etc. and although any traffic to the blog generated by Google would be great, I think most of those people wouldn’t be too happy with what they found here. So I started thinking what would be a “good” thing to write about? Something that would actually be helpful and appreciated by the random people who wound up here through a Google search for instance, something that not every blogger and skeptic is already talking about, something that attracts a lot of products of dubious efficacy, something that affects a lot of people who might not have access to good information or may, out of desperation, be “willing to try anything.”

That’s when I thought of the perfect topic: Herpes. Herpes is a great subject for such a project because there is a huge unmet medical need for treatment, there are several legitimate effective treatments to control the outbreaks of Herpes, and there are numerous products that make dubious claims as to efficacy. Many are sold at high cost right here on the internet.

When I saw the new ad I was like:

“Oh no. If this is one of those alternative medicine treatments I’m gonna slam them, and there goes our advertising empire.


I’ll just have to register a domain name myself and be done with the whole advertising thing.”

But it wasn’t. It’s a very legitimate company with a legitimate product with proven effectiveness in FDA evaluated clinical trials. What a relief.

Now, although I do work in the pharmaceutical industry, I do not work for the company advertising on this site. (Although I may have worked for them in the past. It’s tough to keep straight with all the mergers. I once worked for three different companies in one day all without getting up from my desk!) And as for advertising revenues from the ad, one of the reasons we chose to go with Crispads is that they’ll pay out your earnings when they reach $5.00 instead of waiting until you have $100.00 with adsense. I probably would have retired before we ever got out first check from adsense. Hopefully with Crispads we’ll be able to register a domain and move away from blogspot just like the big boys in the blogosphere do. So don’t think I’m some blog-whore pimping for my advertisers. That’s my day job, and I make a lot more there than I ever will on the internet!

So, I’ll be doing a series of articles about Herpes. They’ll probably go something like this:

1. Revolutionary Cure For Herpes!!! Not.
This will be a Skeptical Pharmacy Friday post (a planned regular irregular feature with the lofty goal of one article every two weeks on, of all days, Friday.) I’ll take a look at one “alternative” treatment for Herpes this week and evaluate whether it’s worth the money or should we just get a prescription.

2. Molecular Biology and Treatment of Herpes.
I’ll discuss how the virus is transmitted, what it does inside the cell, and how current legitimate treatments to control the symptoms of Herpes function.

3. Alternative Medicine and Herpes.
This will be about truly alternative Herpes medicine, in that I will be talking about uses of the Herpes virus to treat other diseases through gene therapy.

I may do a post before Friday on the Herpes viruses just to provide a little background information prior to discussing treatments.


Update: Oh well. Looks like the ad changes periodically. There was an advertisement for famvir earlier. I'm still going ahead with the series. What are the odds of something like that happening by chance? I feel that this was a sign from the internet gods, I must obey their calling.

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