Save Money With Hugs! And Generics

Oh, Science! You’re the best. ((hugs))

Scientists have found that hugs can protect stressed people from getting sick, providing them with more social support that protect them against infection. …

the scientists assessed 404 healthy adults, who filled out a questionnaire about perceived support. The researchers then conducted phone interviews to assess frequencies of interpersonal conflicts and receiving hugs. Then, the volunteers were exposed to a common cold virus and monitored in quarantine.

In the end, the researchers found that perceived social support reduced the risk of infection associated with experiencing conflicts. In fact, hugs were responsible for one-third of the protective effect of social support.

This seems both bizarre and suspect on some level but who cares! Hugs all around. If it’ll keep me from sniffling throughout the winter, I’ll hug just about anybody.

Assuming the power of hugs fails you, though, and you do fall sick? For the love of God and your IRA, save your money and go with generic drugs.

The difference in price between brand names and generics accounts for tens of billions of dollars “wasted” every year by Americans in pharmacies, according to the economics researchers. They also found that more highly educated people are more likely to buy generic medications, concluding that “misinformation explains a sizable share of the brand premium for health products.”

The FDA requires drugstore brands to be “bioequivalent,” meaning there is no difference between Rite-Aid aspirin and the several-times-more-expensive Bayer kind: “a generic version of a drug must deliver the same amount of active ingredients into your bloodstream in the same amount of time as the brand-name drug.”

Yet people will swerve across several lanes of traffic to go with Bayer. Why? Misplaced trust, suggests the Atlantic. Or an assumption that Bayer, perhaps because it costs more, has nicer factories, better quality control, and so on.

The article points out that there are also ten thousand combo cold medicines these days. Simply looking at the CVS over-the-counter medication aisle is likely to induce vertigo and headache, and that’s before you check out the prices. Or, you could avoid pharmacies entirely. A doctor once told me that, in the medical field, they have a saying: “Treat a cold and it’s gone in 10 days; don’t treat a cold, and it will last a week and a half.” Oh physician! Heal thyself — with laughter!

Tea, honey, soup, sleep. The rest is commentary.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.