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Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter # 149

British MDs Denounce Drug Companies “Disease Mongering” Tactics

The Royal College of General Practitioners has accused pharmaceutical companies of “disease-mongering” as a marketing tactic.

By overplaying the dangers of mild depression, slightly raised blood pressure, and the like, drug firms encourage unnecessary
prescribing of costly drugs, bringing the National Health Service to the brink of

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
having bankrupted US medicine, to the point that 45 million cannot afford insurance, and countless others are underinsured]

, the doctors’ group told a parliamentary inquiry.

Dr. Maureen Baker, the college’s honorary secretary, wants the Commons health inquiry to investigate the companies’ practices.

“It would be fruitful to look into the increase in disease-mongering by them,” she told The Sunday Telegraph. “It is very much in the interest of the pharmaceutical industry to draw a line that includes as large a population as possible within the ‘ill’ category

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
every single psychiatric disorder/disease/chemical imbalance in the DSM]

. The bigger this group is, the more drugs they can sell. If current trends continue, publicly funded health-care systems will be at risk of financial collapse with huge cost to society as a whole.”

The college lists hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression as examples of common conditions that, in mild forms, are often inappropriately treated with drugs.

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
add all psychiatric diagnoses and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis and add migraine which today, is applied to all patients with chronic headache which is almost always psychogenic. It is this last group, not diseases at all that are said to cause chronic pain that beget never-justifiable narcotics in perpetuity]

Richard Ley, a spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: “It seems odd for this criticism to come from the Royal College of all organizations, because a decision on when and how to treat a patient is the doctor’s.”

Such decisions, however, are based on treatment guidelines issued by bodies of specialist doctors.

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
As we have seen in the US also, those physicians who author guidelines are oft on the take from big pharma. It is often such experts who have in fact discovered the non-disease in question. ADHD is the most successful such non-disease in history, and the greatest single fraud in modern medicine]

All too often such panels are heavily subsidized by pharmaceutical money, Dr. Baker pointed out.

It was recently divulged that three senior members of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization have received “industrial support” from Aventis Pasteur and Merck Sharp & Dome, manufacturers of a new 5-in-1 baby vaccine that the committee recommended.

Some observers are also concerned about “hard-sell” tactics applied to general practice. Last year, a survey of 1,000 GPs published in the British Medical Journal found that those who saw drug company representatives at least once a week were more likely to prescribe drugs that were not needed. [Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
and here in the US, the President and the Congress see to it that all the poor unfortunates beset with these illusory, non-entities, are sure to get diagnosed and then are sure to get treated. This is the purpose of the White House's New Commission on Mental Health that seeks to enforce mental health screening on all US schoolchildren...for starters]

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