Like a Horoscope, Symptoms on Drug Ads Apply to Everyone
Like a Horoscope, Symptoms on Drug Ads Apply To Everyone
By Martha Rosenberg; March 22, 2013 - AlterNet
Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? Do you wake up…hungry for food? You may be suffering from……fill in the disease du jour.
Selling symptoms to suggestible people has been a gold mine for Big Pharma since it started advertising directly to the consumer almost 15 years ago. Thanks to disease mongering ads, millions of people who were once fine now have depression, insomnia, season allergies, GERD and assorted attention and pain disorders. Worse, they want these afflictions because the medications that treat them have been made so glamorous.
It was once said that Americans have the most expensive urine in the world because of all the unneeded vitamins they take. But taking unneeded prescription drugs is not just a waste of money like vitamins. Unneeded prescription drugs are behind accidents and car crashes, suicides including military suicides, mass shootings like Virginia Tech and Columbine and unanticipated deaths from drug interactions. They raise our insurance rates and taxes and convince people who would have improved without medication (or who improved from the placebo effect) that they are "really sick" and need to remain on the meds. They violate the medical profession's oath to help and not harm at the deepest level.
Taking unneeded psychiatric drugs is especially dangerous, Allen Frances, M.D. Professor Emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine, recently said in a provocative interview with Opednews' Rob Kall. Temper tantrums in children can morph into "Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder," normal forgetting of old age becomes "Minor Neurocognitive Disorder," gluttony becomes "Binge Eating Disorder" and grief becomes "major depression." Choosing to go on a psychiatric drug "requires all the thought that you would put into a decision on who you are going to marry, what car you are going to buy [and] what house you are going to buy," warns Dr. Frances because it's often a one-way street.
It is easier to acquire a diagnosis of a mental disorder than lose one, says Dr. Frances and easier to go on the drugs than off them. Many clinicians and patients report that "rebound" effects from terminating psychiatric drugs can be intolerable, forcing people to remain on them. Worse, rebound effects are often mislabeled as "the disease coming back" rather than weaning off drugs someone did not need to take to begin with.
Another dangerous and unethical marketing area is specialty drugs, normally reserved for serious illnesses, now marketed to the general population. These genetically engineered, injected drugs like Humira, Enbrel and Remicide can cost more than $20,000 a year and are Big Pharma's next profit center now that the patents have run out on the blockbusters Lipitor, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Singulair and Concerta.
Bilking taxpayers and people with private health insurance is not the only reason the drugs, often called biologics or TNF blockers, are unethical. They are also linked to cancers, TB and dangerous side effects that are only justifiable when the person has a major disease. Humira, for example, "may increase the chance of getting lymphoma, including a rare kind, or other cancers," hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus, allergic reactions, nervous system problems, blood problems, heart failure, certain immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome, liver problems, and new or worsening psoriasis" says its label. "Some people have died from these infections."
Still, Big Pharma is marketing these extreme drugs for mild skin and digestive disorders, arthritis and even asthma. Yes asthma.
Are you over 40 and experiencing back pain asks one Big Pharma "quiz" to determine if your back pain may be a "chronic autoimmune condition" and hopefully sell a $20,000 a year drug. Is it worst in the morning? You may have "Ankylosing Spondylitis."
Taunting people with symptoms that almost everyone has--Do you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning? Do you wake up…hungry for food--would be obnoxious or funny--if it did not work so well.