I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Say it ain’t So

Is it just me, or is the latest warning by the program manager of the DOH’s national drug policy moronic?

Here’s the Philippine Star’s report with my comments.

With the growing popularity of glutathione-based products for skin whitening, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public yesterday of the possible ill-effects if these are taken indiscriminately.

According to Dr. Robert So, program manager of the DOH’s National Drug Policy, the whitening effect of these products is “actually the side effect” and not the main usage of the glutathione component.

So far so good. So isn’t actually saying anything that wasn’t already public knowledge. Okay, so maybe not everyone knows this information, but the fact that whitening is only a side-effect has been in nearly all the advertorials on this class of product.

“It is the side effect. It changes the cell outline of the skin so the color of the skin becomes lighter. I personally do not know but there might be other side effects that can be harmful to your health,” he said in a telephone interview.

Still good. So is clearly taking a cautious stand – admitting the possibility of ill-effects while also admitting that he does not know of any evidence or actual case of ill-effects being reported. But then, he jumps the shark.

So said that if such products could change the color of the skin, it is possible that they could affect the “inner part” of the body.

The “inner part” of the body? Wtf? What about the “thigh part?” Or the “breast part?” … oh, wait. That’s chicken. Is this guy a doctor or a Jollibee crew brat? Reminds me of a friend of mine who refers to her groin as the “crotch area.” I tried telling her about how redundant that was, but she said it was more better than just saying crotch – which to her sounded obscene. I told her she needed to dye her hair to a shade about a hundred times lighter than her brown.

Of course, I still tend to be forgiving of poor Doctor So. It was a telephone interview, after all – that bastard offspring of cellphones and journalism – so he must have been desperate to simplify what he was trying to say. Still, this kind of imprecision from a Doctor in the government’s employ simply doesn’t bode well for the state of our civil service. I don’t care how moronic you think your listener is, you simply shouldn’t talk like a moron yourself.

“Our advice is for the public to be careful. If they take it not because of its therapeutic or treatment purposes, there might be some complications,” he said, adding that before using the products, the public must consult their doctors and check if these products have been certified by the DOH-run Bureau of Food and Drugs.

As if he sensed how idiotic he sounded in that other statement, So throws this motherhood statement out. Nothing really wrong with it, of course, apart from that it soooo belabors the obvious. Like I said, what can you do when you’re on the cellphone with a reporter who has no idea what you’re talking about and is just desperate for a soundbite from you?

Still, it is worth mentioning that Viagra was never meant as a stiffener either, and look how successful that little blue pill is. The botulinum toxin isn’t even meant to be taken at all, but yet it’s practically the recreational drug of choice among the desperately age-defying set.

All in all, this isn’t really all So’s fault. I lay the blame squarely on the style of journalism that is en vogue nowadays – the reportage of the sound bite.

Still, So should know better than to say idiocies like the “inner part” of the body.


Filed under: journalism, musings, pop-culture, science,

4 Responses

  1. cvj says:

    What did he actually refer to by using that term? When he uses the term ‘inner part’, i would take it to mean internal organs. In any case, i agree with you 100% when you said “I don’t care how moronic you think your listener is, you simply shouldn’t talk like a moron yourself”.

  2. Jeg says:

    Would ‘innards’ have been better? 😀

    Since we’re in a bashing mood this morning:

    …it is possible that they could affect the “inner part” of the body.

    I thought this was a drug. In that case, duh. It’s not only possible, it’s bloody likely. Technically docs are men and women of science, so ‘possible’ doesnt cut it. Anything is possible. “Studies conducted at the University of Blah point to some harmful effects of unregulated use of products containing…” wouldve been more ‘scientific’. No wonder science geeks like DJB and blackshama lament the state of science in this country.

  3. rom says:

    jeg: Hahaha! But no. seriously, innards would have been all wrong, since innards is kinda specific. I mean, when you say innards, you’re referring to internal organs like the intestines and such.

    I totally agree with your observation on the state of science and all that, but the way I see it, this doc just fell prey to pitfall of over-simplification, if not contributing, then certainly abetting the dumbing down of the Filipino.

  4. HAHAHA. Too bad. A lot of Filipinos are being beauty conscious nowadays.

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