Infographic: Paxil–The Facts’ll Disturb You


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Rottenstein Law Group sends us this infographic.

I like that the designer didn’t go crazy trying to play up the severity of an issue like pharmaceutical dangers with a harsh design. This graphic uses a lot of negative space and soothing colors to sort of counteract the drama of the info that’s being portrayed; it’s pleasant to look at. However, the significant lack of data visualization means I have to give this infographic a C.

This IG displays a common problem: there are visuals, but they aren’t data viz. Paxil was the 5th most prescribed anti-depressant in the US for two years–so where’s the bar graph to show how many prescriptions each of the top 4 had, or the ones below it? That average $1.2 million settlement could’ve been shown even in stacks of money, or in pills–anything other than a safe with some cash. That only shows that money was involved; it gives no sense of scale or portion. The general lack of data viz makes the statistics that are visualized stand out, and since those are done pretty conventionally, it’s not really the good kind of standing out. The 8% mania/hypomania pie chart looks anemic. It’s so… monotone and isolated. The bars showing percentage of side effects experienced might also not be the best choice, since all the white space makes it look as though these numbers are sort of underwhelming. It’d probably be a more effective choice for an advocate of Paxil, rather than someone who’s trying to show the prevalence of side effects. (As an aside, the vague label “other male genital disorders” is freaking me out.)

All in all, it’s pretty, but it’s telling and using iconography rather than visualizing data.

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