July 14th, 2011
The next time you reach in the medicine cabinet, take a hard look at the pills you’re about to swallow.
A growing number of doctors say some are for diseases created to sell the drugs you take.
A quick on the Internet and you will see the commercials.
“Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now.”
“Over 10 million Americans suffer. Do you?”
Warning you about symptoms for diseases you may never have heard of before.
“May be a symptom of a more serious condition called GERD.”
They make you wonder. Do you have it? Do you need to treat it?
“It’s not very difficult to make people feel like they’re not normal,” says Georgetown University’s Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman. “They might say, ‘Do you urinate more than five times a day?’ And the viewer is thinking, ‘Gee, doesn’t everyone? I’m not really keeping track of how many times my office mates are going to the bathroom.’ Maybe I’m not normal.”
Dr. Fugh-Berman is creating a buzz in the medical world because she says pharmaceutical companies are marketing drugs before they have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
She says they don’t advertise the drug. Instead, they sell the disease.
“What industry does is invent conditions, invent diseases in order to expand the market for a drug,” she says.
Dr. Fugh-Berman uses this fictitious example:
Let’s give the gurgles and rumbles that come with an empty stomach a new medical name.
We’ll call it Gurglerumblitis.
A drug company discovers a drug that prevents Gurglerumblitis.
Since it is illegal to promote a drug before it has been approved, Dr. Fugh-Berman says the company will spend the next decade paying doctors to go to medical conferences to warn other doctors about a new disease called “Chronic Loud Atypical Stomach Sounds” or CLASS.