Read some excerpts about pharmaceutical drug companies from this CNN news article by Carl Elliot, “How to brand a disease – and sell a cure”:
- “Drug makers have mastered the art of branding medical conditions to sell cures.”
- “Once a branded disease has achieved a degree of cultural legitimacy, there is no need to convince anyone that a drug to treat it is necessary. It will come to him as his own idea.”
- “By creating a brand, firms can make consumers feel taking a drug is needed.”
- “Paxil was marketed to treat “social anxiety disorder,” once known as “shyness“.
- “In the two years before Paxil was approved for social anxiety, there were only about 50 references to social anxiety disorder in the press. But in 1999, during the PR campaign, there were over a billion references.”
- “Within two years Paxil had become the seventh most profitable drug in America, and Cohn and Wolfe had picked up an award for the best PR campaign of 1999. Today, social anxiety disorder, far from being rare, is often described as the third most common mental illness in the world.”
The whole article is very interesting but disgusting the way they “play” the public and even more, how many still fall for it. But at the same time it’s fascinating at how susceptible we all are to slick advertising at some point in our lives. When the drug companies can spend millions in ad dollars and turn around and make billions, I’d say they know what they’re doing.
It’s not even rare, they do it all the time.
Another great example is the wool that was pulled over our eyes on the whole cholesterol issue. I can’t believe how often the topic comes up in casual conversation, it has become SO ingrained in us that “high cholesterol is bad”. I don’t know how long it will take ‘til the wheels fall off that junker, but for now, it just keeps chugging along. (Read more about this in the links below.)
Can you think of more ways the drug companies have used their slick advertising to convince us we needed the latest popular drug?
Dr. Carl Elliott, an M.D. and Ph.D., is the author of “White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine“.
- Fat Head Movie Review – great YouTube clips here that explain how obesity begins and how the saturated fat myth took hold.
- Read about how I almost got into a “Butter Fight” with someone…
- Cholesterol drugs for kids – do kids need to lower their cholesterol?!
- Read about Mike’s follow-up appointment at the heart doc.
- More pharmaceutical bull crap – read why the pharmacy contacted my sister