I’m not usually one to keep up with the latest trends, but I have been noticing how some of the fads from the past couple of years could actually make drug safety seem cool to the general public. Yes, I said it. We’re probably going to be extremely popular after this blog post goes out.
Hipsters are like cool nerds, with hats and extravagant mustaches. New-agers are like health nuts, with the addition of conspiracy theories and healing crystals. Are you starting to see where I am going with this? It’s okay if you don’t -- some people may think I’m making quite a leap. Let me explain.
1. Hipsters have made nerds cool. And they’re opinionated.
With the rise of the hipsters, glasses have become chic, and being dorky is now considered the height of cool. Hipsters can be highly opinionated, especially about topics counter to popular culture. Instead of tweeting about a drug safety article published by the Wall Street Journal (“Too mainstream, man.”), I have confidence they will instill their faith in an independent, third-party, non-government affiliated group of drug safety specialists. Does any such amazing company exist? Yes. And we’re even based out of northern California.
New agers and hipsters were a big part of the Occupy movement. (I know this because I watched them rally while I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley. And no, I do not own any healing crystals or thick-rimmed glasses.) There has been a general backlash against “big everything,” and I see big pharma as being the next hipster frontier. Not that the support of thousands of trendy kids in their mid-twenties who have B.A.’s in Art History or Sociology who are still living with their parents will gain us much traction in terms of initiating a movement that actually impacts the drug safety world, but at least people will be talking about it. And that’s the first step.
Basically, I knew drug safety would be popular before it was cool.
2. New-Agers have helped popularize healthy living and the use of alternative medicines.
I’m not advocating the use of healing crystals for the treatment of cancer, but I am glad that questioning the ingredients in food and weighing the consequences of pharmaceutical medicines has become popular in mainstream culture. Besides the obvious benefit Americans are realizing they can gain from employing a balanced diet and workout regimen (which could help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases), it appears that the general public are also becoming more concerned with how the pharmaceutical industry works (however dysfunctional the system may be).
Besides the widely publicized drug controversies in recent years (Pradaxa & Coumadin bleeding risks, NuvaRing blood clot hazards, diabetes meds and pancreatitis, etc.), there has been a major push for legitimate transparency in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. These events are paving the way for pharmacovigilance to be a prominent focus not only for those absorbed in this field of work, but for average U.S. citizens as well. My friends and family members are starting to catch on to the kind of work I do for AdverseEvents, Inc., and some are even employing strategies to prevent ailments like cardiovascular disease instead of simply relying on the prescription their physician writes them as a cure-all.
Maybe my dad won’t thank the crystal worshipping New Agers, but I’ll give them kudos for helping popularize our cause to the general masses.
So what can we take away from this far-fetched comparison? Being well-informed and knowledgeable about controversial topics is becoming more prevalent. People are starting to care more about their health and well-being, and are seriously questioning the ethics behind drug companies’ motives and practices. And who will be there, endlessly supplying freshly analyzed adverse event data and verifiable drug safety metrics? We will. Sorry for ruining your new hobby, hipsters, but drug safety just got cool.