I've told you in the past about how the drug companies have managed to "invent" diseases to match the chemical spectrum of the chemicals they sell. CNN recently picked up on the beat. In their report, CNN says that Pharma is now selling the diseases that petrochemical pharmaceuticals treat.
Consider the common condition "urge incontinence" that, for years, carried a stigma of weakness. Pharma found a way to reframe your thinking. Instead of weakness problems that caused embarrassing incontinence, they renamed it to "overactive bladder." Now, instead of weakness causing the problem, the bladder has a problem that a drug can fix. And the best part is that you didn't even have to leak to qualify. All you had to do is go to the bathroom a lot. This enabled darling drug Detrol to become a huge hit.
By creating the disease of "overactive bladder," the company created an instant market of 21 million potential patients.
But it gets better. Have you ever experienced shyness? I sure did when I was a teen. Remember standing around at dances shy, and scared to reach out to the opposite sex? Now, according to the drug companies, about 80% of us, including me, would have suffered from their new "social anxiety disorder"! And that fabricated disease would automatically qualify you for an antidepressant, with the blessings of the FDA, Pharma's henchman.
Don't get me wrong, people are a bit smarter than that. So, Pharma giant Glaxo, maker of Paxil, hired a public relations firm. The goal was to make people aware that they might be "allergic" to people. The company hired academic psychiatrists working on "social anxiety disorder" and sent them on a lecture circuit. Before the FDA approved Paxil for the bogus disorder, there were only about 50 references on this nutty diagnosis. But, during the 1999 PR campaign, there were over one billion references. In two years, Paxil became the 7th most profitable drug in America.
The doctors pushing this campaign received awards for the education of doctors and the public on what has become the third most common "mental disease" in the world.
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Remember West Side Story? The young hoodlum sings to Officer Krupke that he has a "social disease." While his was far from shyness, this serves well to point out that Pharma can transform just about any truly normal human variation into a chemical-needing disease. And worse, if you would really look at the raw data from Pharma for say a long accepted disorder called depression, you'd find that their petrochemicals work only a tiny bit better than a sugar placebo. And we wonder why "health" costs are soaring.
The sad thing is that if all drugs were benign, disease branding would be relatively harmless, too. But no drug is clean. Detrol can make elderly people delirious and may cause memory problems. Paxil can cause sexual dysfunction and dependence. It also has a black-box warning for suicide in children and adolescents, the very target of social anxiety (shyness) disorder. So the next time a doctor suggests that you take a Pharma mind-altering drug, ask for a shot of vitamin B12. Aside from its marvelous effects on your nervous system, the placebo effect alone will trump anything from Pharma, and won't have any toxicity.