Report Accuses Drug Firms of Exaggerating and Inventing Diseases

Posted on April 17, 2006

The BBC explains a new report from Public Library of Science Medicine that accuses pharmaceutical companies of "inventing diseases" so they can sell more drugs.

Report authors David Henry and Ray Moynihan criticised attempts to convince the public in the US that 43% of women live with sexual dysfunction.

They also said that risk factors like high cholesterol and osteoporosis were being presented as diseases -- and rare conditions such as restless leg condition and mild problems of irritable bowel syndrome were exaggerated.

The report said: "Disease-mongering is the selling of sickness that widens the boundaries of illness and grows the markets for those who sell and deliver treatments."

The article listed restless legs, irritable bowel syndrome and menopause as some of the examples of conditions where disease-mongering was occuring. People suffering from IBS would probably disagree. In addition to accusing drug companies of "inventing ailments" critics have also accused drug firms of running advertisements that are vague about what exactly the drug being advertised is supposed to treat.

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