How drug cos make you ill to cure you | india | Hindustan Times
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How drug cos make you ill to cure you

REALISING THAT more money can be made from healthy people who believe they are ill than from people who actually need medication, pharmaceutical companies are exaggerating ailments to sell medicines. The result: creation of a slew of new "disorders" that needed no cure two decades ago.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 01:47 IST

REALISING THAT more money can be made from healthy people who believe they are ill than from people who actually need medication, pharmaceutical companies are exaggerating ailments to sell medicines. The result: creation of a slew of new "disorders" that needed no cure two decades ago.

Today, you're not an introvert, you have "social phobia"; you're not temperamental, but someone with "mood instability"; you're not greedy but a "compulsive over-eater"; you are not fickle but a "sex-addict"; and irrespective of who you are and what you do, you need Viagra.

Dr Anupam Sibal, group director (health services), Apollo Hospitals says, "Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly promoting new disorders and selling the cure to gullible people who want a pill for every disorder, real or imagined."

Highly respected medical journal Public Library of Science Medicine published 11 articles in its April issue calling for generating knowledge for action against "disease mongering, which turns healthy people into patients,wastes precious resources, and causes iatrogenic (illnesses caused by medical treatment) harm".

Disease mongering is about blurring the boundaries of illness to expand markets for drugs. Apart from formulating new disorders, marketing strategies also exaggerate aspects that are a part of life -- such as balding, menopause, post-partum depression, andropause -- to bring them into the pharmaceutical net.

"A nexus between drug companies and doctors results in a lot of unnecessary drugs and treatments being promoted," says Dr Ranjit Roy Choudhry, chairman of the Centre's sub-committee on Macro-Economics and Health, set up to assess India's health sector. "The government and doctors have a responsibility to educate the public and not play on people's fears," he says. In India's Rs 24,000-crore pharmaceutical market, 15 of the top-selling 25 prescription drugs are irrational combinations.