Are you familiar with ‘cosmetic pharmacology’?

That’s the term my health insurance provider pulled out of a 1993 book to sell a new ‘talk’ program they are creating in the new year. The term is basicially associated with the idea that doctors are prescribing drugs to help people with non-medical symptoms. In other words, coping with real life.

This was part of an email plug sent to all of us poor, duped folks that pay them money to cover us. Read it hear: g(sc) TALK: Living in a brave new world: a prescription for (un)happiness…

It read like a document found in a time capsule, bashing scientific research on mental health, absent of quotes, or any other research. Mainly anecdotal, it describes the family doctor like some vending machine, irresponsibly handing out medication as if they cannot be bothered with their problems.  Maybe you should go for a walk, maybe you don’t have a real problem, maybe you are just…


That pissed me off. As a father who has watched some of his children learn to cope through mental health issues, extended family that hid the problem as long they could, parishioners and friends who knew they would be stigmatized if anyone knew of their struggle, and of course, myself…I have heard too many dismissive and hurtful comments to accept this from an insurance company trying to sell another money-saving tactic.


That is your answer? Really? After telling everyone on your client list that their depression(insert any mental illness here) is a happiness problem, and they should get to know their feelings? That their doctors are just prescribing away their problem? That psychiatrists are too busy, so they too are dismissive? That the real problem is that we have all somehow exchanged a true problem with feeling unhappy? Thank God you have come to the rescue! Had I known an insurance company was my real saviour, I would have done everything differently! I mean really, no one is aware of mindfulness, or written a book about it, or a talk show…

Oh wait, they have. And you are a business, hitting below the belt.

Here are the truths I am reminded about in capitalism and selling truth to make money:

  1. You are not my friend. You provide a service, paid for by us.
  2. You are not benelovent. You come at a cost, and this email was most likely written by an actuary.
  3. I am less important than your bottom line. If I cause you to suffer, you will hang me out to dry. But I know there is no vice versa on this relationship.

Thank you Green Shield Canada, you have reminded me that I am responsible for my own well-being in health care. Especially when it involves money to be made.

Rant over. Care like you mean it in your business.

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