The Reasoned Review

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Let Them Eat Prozac

with 3 comments

Apropos anti-depressants, I would like to draw attention to this sublime New York Review of Books article from two years ago:

Drug makers earn their enormous profits from a very few market-leading products for which new applications are continually sought. If those uses don’t turn up through experimentation or serendipity, they can be conjured by means of “condition branding”—that is, coaching the masses to believe that one of their usual if stressful states actually partakes of a disorder requiring medication. A closely related term is more poetical: “astroturfing,” or the priming of a faux-grassroots movement from which a spontaneous-looking demand for the company’s miracle cure will emanate.In this instance Cohn & Wolfe, whose other clients have included Coca-Cola, Chevron Texaco, and Taco Bell, was using an athlete to help create a belief that shyness, a common trait that some societies associate with good manners and virtue, constitutes a deplorably neglected illness.

Given the altruistic aura of the occasion, it would have been tasteless to have Ricky Williams display a vial of Paxil on the spot. But later (before he was suspended from the football league for ingesting quite different drugs), a GSK press release placed his name beneath this boilerplate declaration:

As someone who has suffered from social anxiety disorder, I am so happy that new treatment options, like Paxil CR, are available today to help people with this condition.

It would almost be funny, if it weren’t so tragic.

The corporate giants popularly known as Big Pharma spend annually, worldwide, some $25 billion on marketing, and they employ more Washington lobbyists than there are legislators. Their power, in relation to all of the forces that might oppose their will, is so disproportionately huge that they can dictate how they are to be (lightly) regulated, shape much of the medical research agenda, spin the findings in their favor, conceal incriminating data, co-opt their potential critics, and insidiously colonize both our doctors’ minds and our own.

You would do well to read the entire article.

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Written by pavanvan

February 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Nice post.
    Heres a link to an article about the effectiveness, or rather ineffectiveness, of antidepressants.
    In a study done by a doctor at the university of Connecticut. He found that “Patients on a placebo improved about 75 percent as much as those on drugs.”
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/232781

    sprouts

    February 8, 2010 at 1:08 am

  2. Yeah, I discussed that Newsweek article a few posts down.

    pavanvan

    February 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

  3. it appears you have.
    good man

    sprouts

    February 11, 2010 at 3:51 am


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