Do Not Give This To Your Children (Give This To Your Children)

14 Mar

March 14, 2017

Watching TV is like watching all the worst in life. No, I haven’t been watching American Chopper reruns, I’m talking about commercials. In particular, I’m talking about commercials for medicine. They are so full of disclaimers and legal jargon that I’m not sure if I should ask my doctor or lawyer if I should take something. But if I’m diagnosing myself based on symptoms recited by a talking pink pill, I may have other problems besides an upset stomach. 

I was watching TV when an ad for Linzess came on. As far as made up medicine names go, Linzess is better than Prevnar 13, which they claim is a pneumonia medication but I think is really a planet where Captain Kirk fought the Klingons. 

Linzess is medicine for constipation and belly pain. Yes, it is for “belly” pain and not “stomach” pain. Hey, why use a medical term in a medicine commercial? Check it out here, from the official Linzess website, complete with a cute girl with a backed up dumper:

As I was listening to the commercial I heard a couple of caveats, which I highlighted above.

  • Do not give LINZESS to children who are less than 6 years of age. It may harm them.
  • You should not give LINZESS to children 6 years to less than 18 years of age. It may harm them.

What’s the difference?
Under no circumstances should you give this to kids under 6. Nope, not at all. Don’t do it.
You shouldn’t give it to kids between 6 and 18, but maybe, if you want to, nudge nudge wink wink. We won’t tell.

Why not just say “Do not give Linzess to children who are under eighteen”? Is it OK to take a chance with a 14 year old? It does sort of hint that you can give it to an older kid. After all, you should not buy off-brand frozen fish from the dollar store but people do it all the time. So why not take a shot with your kid’s health?

What is the difference between “do not give” and “you should not give”? 
The question is Imponderable.

This has been Imponderable #134

 

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2 Responses to “Do Not Give This To Your Children (Give This To Your Children)”

  1. T E Stazyk March 14, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    When I was working, someone decided that when writing policies, the word “Must” was too brute a force so “should” was always used instead. The rule was “should means must.”

    It’s funny because the whole reason for all these caveats is to exculpate the company but it doesn’t protect them from someone who thinks should means should. Because you can’t know how someone will interpret English. Another example from work–to me, “as soon as possible,” means to me when I have the time, because it’s not possible for me to do something when I’m busy doing other things. But some people think it means to drop what you’re doing and deal with their problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bmj2k March 14, 2017 at 5:28 am #

      This reminded me that back when I was working for “The Company” we had some similar conversation (can’t remember exactly what it was though) and Legal weighed in very heavily and overruled my group, who were not only meant to be the language experts but it was our group that was designed to keep Legal from doing the very thing they were doing. And though we supposedly could overrule them the reality was that Legal was one of the groups that had to sign off on everything and would always get their way since they wouldn’t sign anything if they didn’t. So while we were meant to be advocates for the layman, we often sent out things that were full of jargon and simply not clear at all.

      Like

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