Opening Sentence:Thirty years ago the head of one of the world’s best-known drug companies made some very candid comments.
Synopsis:Three decades ago, the head of one of the world’s leading drug companies made some remarkably candid comments. Wishing his company was more like the chewing gum maker Wrigley’s, the chief executive of Merck said it had long been his dream to make drugs for healthy people, and ‘sell to everyone’. That dream now drives the marketing machinery of one of the most profitable industries on the planet.
Using their dominating influence in medical science, drug companies are marketing fear in order to redefine human illness. In alliance with company-friendly doctors and sponsored patient groups, the all-powerful pharmaceutical industry is helping to widen the very definitions of disease, in order to expand markets for its drugs.
With compelling clarity, Selling Sickness reveals how the ups and downs of daily life are becoming mental disorders, and common complaints are being transformed into frightening conditions. Shyness is Social Anxiety Disorder, PMS is a psychiatric illness called PMDD, and active children now have ADHD. As more and more ordinary people are turned into patients, drug companies move ever closer to that dream of selling to everyone.
Comments:With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the US comprises almost 50% of the global prescription drug market, and a whopping 80% of the global market of prescription stimulants like Ritalin. These are alarming figures. Are Americans truly more ill than the rest of the world, or are they simply more easily influenced by the marketing machine?
Before reading this book, I already knew that drug companies had an unhealthy influence on prescription practices. After all, many medical centre’s are owned by drug companies. However, I had no idea of the true extent of the problem. It seems as though just about everyone has their fingers in this very big pie. Drug company money supports nearly everyone in the world of medicine, from doctors and interns, to thought-leaders, decision makers, medical journals (who rely on their advertising revenue) and government watchdogs. Even patient advocacy groups,who are supposed to be looking after our interests, are largely funded by drug company ‘largesse’.
Fortunately, there are still some people, including doctors, med students and scientists who are willing to stand up for what they feel is right. These people want to move away from the ‘ill for every pill’ culture the drug companies are aiming for, back to a healthier, more holistic medical approach. Selling Sickness is an informative and frightening glimpse of the insidious methods used by drug companies to make us all believe we need their products. It is compulsory reading for every discerning adult.
- How drug companies mislead doctors (cbc.ca)
- How to get medication assistance (bangordailynews.com)
- Wendell Potter: Obama’s “Scheme” Will End the World As We Know It, Says Big Pharma. Good. (huffingtonpost.com)
- Medical conflicts of interest: it’s not just about the money (jsonline.com)
- Pregnant and told to take pharmaceuticals? Remember Thalidomide and DES worldwide disasters (desdaughter.wordpress.com)