The pharmaceutical industry, like the larger healthcare industry, goes out of its way to address problems which are profitable but of dubious urgency. Coincidentally, I'm sure, they seem a little more concerned about one gender than the other. We have dozens of male pattern baldness treatments and an unceasing parade of magic dick pills, yet the side effects of contraception aren't getting any less severe and some insurers still won't cover it. I've always hoped that we might even the playing field by having drugmakers devote less R&D to Rogaines and Viagras and more to life-threatening diseases and conditions regardless of who is affected by them. Instead, it looks like we're going to begin leveling the playing field by developing equally stupid drugs for women.

This brings me to the Latisse commercial you've probably seen as part of a summer marketing blitz. You know, the one starring Brooke Shields touting a drug which promises to bring an end to the global menace of insufficiently long eyelashes (hypotrichosis).

Yes, this is a real thing.

Now, I suppose that having no eyelashes would be a serious medical problem, but no amount of bullshitting can make the pitch used in this commercial sound legitimate. Yes, Latisse was developed as a glaucoma treatment many years ago, but someone still spent a lot of R&D money figuring out a cosmetic use which would let the manufacturer extend its patent.

It's good that big pharma has given all of the serious diseases such a vigorous thrashing that it can turn its attention to gender-based body hair insufficiencies on equal terms.