Joel Lexchin’s Pharmaceutical innovation, is a critique on Schnittker and Karandinos’s “Methuselah’s Medicine: Pharmaceutical innovation” , which states that our life expectancy has increased due to the advancements in medicine. Lexchin, however, argues that this isn’t entirely true as other variables also need to be factored in before a consensus can be reached. His argument is constructed on the foundation of logos as he tries to appeal to the logical side of the reader with facts and statistical evidence to support his argument. He also incorporates various rhetorical strategies (like data comparison, jargons, and extended examples) making it easy for the reader to believe his argument. Lexchin further captivates his readers by making use of ethos (ethical/moral appeal), and pathos (emotional appeal).Lexchin’s most powerful tool is logos where most of his argument is based off logical data. Early on in his article, he brings up data like NME’s, which are new molecular entities, and how they are not all the same. He brings up a lot of statistical data which most people don’t understand but since it sounds scholarly they believe it and agree with him. For example he talks a lot about the first proton pump inhibitor, minoxidil, and terbinafine. By talking about all of these different medications and their uses we can tell that the writer knows about what he’s talking about and gives us an ethical persuasion. Just in the third paragraph alone he convinces the reader to believe in his persuasion through the use of ethos and logos.
His extended example in paragraph 6, about the comparative life expectancy between Europe and the United States is another great example of his use of logos. In the 1960’s the average life expectancy for a male was 66.6 and a female 73.1 in the United States. 40 years lates, in 2000 the life expectancy jumped to 74.1 for men and 79.5 for women. Today, the average life expectancy for a male is 76 and for women is 81. In another article, Lexchin talks about the comparative cost of prescription drugs between Canada and Europe and how they are drastically different. Although we don’t have proof that the cause of the boost in life expectancy is due to an innovation in pharmaceuticals, Lexchin convinces the reader it is.
Lexchin also tries to reach our emotions by talking about the morality rate of young kids, primarily ages 15-19. He says how pharmacotherapy can’t resolve minimizing the mortality rate of young kids as two of the top three causes are unintentional injury and homicide. “Even if pharmaceuticals eliminated every death in each of these 7 causes, the overall impact on deaths would be minimal. The use of pathos in this paragraph helps the readers, especially if they are parents or teenagers themselves, connect with this information.
In paragraph 7, Lexchin talks about how new drugs in the United States are dangerous and the knowledge is minimal even with extensive testing. This is another view of how he uses logos again to persuade the reader. “One indication of the unrecognized dangers from new drugs is that half of the drugs withdrawn from the US market for safety reasons occur within two years of marketing.” He brings in examples from real world situations such as what happened with rofecoxib. Rofecoxib caused between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious coronary heart disease in just five years.
Lexchin also incorporates the use of pathos as he talks about death a lot in his argument. He persuades us to read on about how pharmaceuticals aren’t as great as they seem. He reiterates the word mortality throughout the passage and the average life expectancy throughout. He catches the readers attention by grasping the subject of immortality and death.
In conclusion, Lexchin uses the work of logos most throughout his analysis of Schnittker and Karandinos’s article. He also incorporates a little bit of ethos and pathos here and there, but the reader can obviously see the enormous behemoth of facts presented to them by Lexchin. It is obvious that he knows what he is talking about if you research him and can find the numerous number of pharmaceutical articles he has written and is a professor at York University. This gives him some type of ethical appeal as we generally believe someone with accreditation. Overall, Lexchin provides a clear and concise commentary on Schnitker and Karandino’s article with the aid of rhetorical devices.