Feb 022010
 

I have a collection of pharmaceutical informational inserts. I mostly use them as art material. Some actually came with my own prescriptions, and some were given to me. (It’s helpful to have an acquaintance in the medical field who is willing to pass these things along.)

I first started paying attention to them when I was putting together an entry for a We Love Your Books show in ’07.  The theme was A (is for add) B (is for book) C (is for collaborate). I chose to do P is for Pills. It was probably the first book-related thing I did that I packaged in a pill bottle. I filled it with little pamphlet-style books made from the informational inserts.

At any rate, I felt that my bottles of “Codex” (tiny books in capsules that, as a work, I’m calling The Literary Cure), needed a little something more–an accompanying informational insert, of course! So I opened up InDesign and Illustrator and got to work.

Of this edition of five, three are already spoken for, and one will be headed to a big book fair at the end of this week. I have not actually made that many bottles of Codex yet. Tiny capsules with tiny books are slow going for someone with hand issues (that is, me). The three that are being purchased were ordered by someone who is willing to wait, even knowing that it might take me months. What a great person! I partly added the insert for her. She deserves a little something extra for her patience.

All this reminds me of the funniest real pharma insert I’ve seen. Have you ever read the fine print on some of these? This was for a well-known sleeping aid. It had the familiar charts displaying the adverse events that had been noted in clinical trial subjects. After all the various bodily systems and their related side effects were listed, there was a mysterious category of “social circumstances.” Here it was noted that one research subject, after consuming the sleeping aid, had experienced “exposure to poisonous plant.” I tried to imagine… a crazed sleepwalker nibbling on a euphorbia? Running through a field of poison oak? The possibilities…

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