Tags: Report: | Drug | Companies | Often | 'Invent' | Diseases

Report: Drug Companies Often 'Invent' Diseases

Tuesday, 11 April 2006 12:00 AM

Drug companies often invent diseases or exaggerate minor ones in order to market and sell more drugs, according to several new reports presented at a conference at Australia's Newcastle University.

The practice has been dubbed "disease-mongering."

"Disease-mongering turns healthy people into patients, wastes precious resources and causes iatrogenic (medically induced) harm," stated conference chairman Dr. David Henry of Newcastle University.

Dr. Henry said disease-awareness campaigns are often funded by drug companies, and may be aimed more at selling drugs than at informing or educating.

Various reports at the conference contended that conditions such as sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and "restless legs syndrome" are heavily publicized and promoted by companies hoping to sell more drugs.

Natural conditions such as menopause are defined as diseases. And risk factors such as high cholesterol levels or osteoporosis are presented as diseases in their own right.

The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction, one paper claimed, has been highly exaggerated to provide a new market for drugs, while the makers of anti-impotence medicines have often present them as lifestyle drugs that can boost the sexual prowess of healthy men.

Another report focused on shyness and contended that it is routinely presented as a social anxiety disorder to be treated with antidepressants.

Newly identified conditions such as "restless legs syndrome" -- a constant urge to move one's legs -- are presented as being much more common than they really are.

Experts at the conference urged everyone, including consumers and physicians, to become more skeptical about new drugs and drug marketing campaigns.

Reports presented at the Australian conference also appear in the journal, Public Library of Science -- Medicine.

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Drug companies often invent diseases or exaggerate minor ones in order to market and sell more drugs, according to several new reports presented at a conference at Australia's Newcastle University. The practice has been dubbed "disease-mongering."...
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2006-00-11
Tuesday, 11 April 2006 12:00 AM
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