Saturday, February 17, 2007

Havidol: The fake drug too real for some

New York artist Justine Cooper promoting a campaign for a fake drug to treat a fictitious illness is causing a stir because some people think the illness is real.

The magic blue pill treats Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder. It's available in 20mg tablets and suppositories. Look up what this magic pill, Havidol can do by clicking their site here.

This is all done in the name of art. The exhibit at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York, which includes a Web site, mock television and print advertisements and billboards is so convincing people think it is authentic.

It seems this whole thing took off over the Internet. In the first few days after the Web site ( went up, it had 5,000 hits. The last time he checked it had reached a quarter of a million.

This shows not only the power of internet, both on the positive and negative side but also the force of corporate marketing that influence public opinion.

Counterfeit drugs are already flooded in some international markets and it's the poor and the vulnerable who in their plight and desperation get caught to scams.

A survey conducted with the World Health Organisation found more than half the drugs on sale in Nigeria were fake or sub-standard.

Although the exhibit in New York is considered satire or parody, it also unfortunately adds to the existing problems in the countereit market.

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