Dear pharmacies,

You have way too many products on the shelf. It’s very confusing. Here’s how I’d fix it:

  1. Eliminate everything with phenylephrine as the active ingredient. This shit doesn’t do anything. Buying pseudoephedrine today is about as easy as getting an abortion in Mississippi, but at least it works!
  2. Don’t allow different formulations of one brand to employ different active ingredients. Imagine if Advil was sometimes made of aspirin! Somehow this is acceptable for cold medicine.
  3. Stop selling so many 3- and 4-drug combos with ambiguous differences. For those people who get all 12 listed symptoms simultaneously, maybe these are a convenience. I’d prefer to take a decongestant when I’m congested. I’ll take a cough suppressant if I have a cough. Thanks.
  4. Seriously, why does everything have acetaminophen in it? If people have pain, let them take a painkiller. Pretty soon, multi-vitamins and shampoo are going to come with 1000 mg of acetaminophen. I’d rather keep my liver.

By my estimation, these changes would leave about 5 products on the shelf. Much better.