December 13th, 2011

Drug Companies Increase Profits by Creating Fear of Diseases (and Even Diseases)

By David Wallechinsky

Coined nearly 20 years ago, the term “disease mongering” is still applicable today for what the pharmaceutical industry is doing to promote its blockbuster drugs among America’s “sick.”

In her book Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick, Lynn Payer described several disease-mongering tactics including 1) taking a normal function and implying that it is potentially dangerous and should be treated, preferably for a long time; 2) taking a common symptom that could mean anything and making it sound as if it is a sign of a serious disease; 3) saying that a large percentage of the population might be suffering from the “disease” and 4) recruiting doctors to spread the message.

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