Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Aspirin: The Devil's Horns Effect
The latest good news on Aspirin comes as no great surprise to those of us who have been extolling the virtues of this medicine-cabinet marvel for many years. What does continue to surprise me is the apparently ever-strengthening resistance to Aspirin. It's getting increasingly hard to find it on pharmacy and supermarket shelves, where it's being elbowed aside by ever more fancily packaged variants on Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Neither of these two, in my experience, is as effective a painkiller as Aspirin (especially in combination with Codeine) and neither is any safer - certainly not Paracetamol, which is very bad news for the liver. And yet Paracetamol is seen as safe, nice and cuddly. It's what marketing types call the Halo Effect - an often wholly undeserved aura of health-giving beneficence that surrounds certain products or foods. Aspirin, by contrast, has something more like the Devil's Horns Effect - an undeserved reputation for being harmful and bad (based on the idea that it will make your stomach bleed - though you'd be very unlucky indeed if it did). The Devil's Horns Effect will no doubt trump the health benefits of Aspirin yet again - especially, I fancy, among women, who by and large seem to have a mighty down on Aspirin (or so I've found). And of course the producers and retailers have little interest in pushing Aspirin, as there's no money to be made from it, even if sales now soar. As they should. But won't.