Disease mongering

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Disease mongering is a term used to describe a perceived attempt by pharmaceutical companies to promote public awareness of relatively minor conditions or diseases with the aim of increasing sales of medication.[1] Examples include male-type baldness and certain social phobias.[1] In discussions specifically about the validity of psychiatry, the term is frequently also used by proponents of the antipsychiatry movement[2] and Scientology[3] based critics to discredit psychiatry, neurobiological disorders, and the medications used for treatment. Examples include ADHD[4] and bipolar disorder[5].

Proponents of this practice argue that the pharmaceutical industry is only providing the public with information about its options and that actual prescription is a matter to be discussed between patient and doctor. Opponents, however, claim that this approach leads to the unnecessary prescription of drugs, that its motivation is only to profit the drug companies, and that it may actually harm instead of help patients.[1]

A 2006 Newcastle, New South Wales conference, reported in PLoS Medicine, explored the phenomenon further[6] Journalist Moynihan satirised it in a BMJ "news" item that appeared in its April Fool's Day edition 2006, titled "Scientists find new disease: motivational deficiency disorder".[7]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Moynihan R, Heath I, Henry D (2002). "Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering". BMJ. 324 (7342): 886–91. PMID 11950740.
  2. Fred Baughman (2000-09-25). "The Rise and Fall of ADD/ADHD". ICSPP. Retrieved 2007-06-03. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Stephen Barlas and Psychiatric Times staff (2006-04-16). "Psychiatric Profession Current Target of Citizens Commission on Human Rights". CCHR. Retrieved 2007-06-03. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. Kage B (2006-09-22). "Celebrity-endorsed ADHD "educational ad" spreads Big Pharma disease mongering across internet". NewsTarget.com. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
  5. Healy D (2006). "The latest mania: selling bipolar disorder". PLoS Med. 3 (4): e185. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030185. PMID 16597178.
  6. Moynihan R, Henry D (eds). "A Collection of Articles on Disease Mongering". PLoS medicine, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
  7. Moynihan R (2006). "Scientists find new disease: motivational deficiency disorder". BMJ. 332: p. 745.

Further reading

  • Payer, Lynn (1992). Disease-Mongers. New York: John Wiley. ISBN 0-47100-737-4.
  • Moynihan, Ray (2005). Selling sickness: How the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies are turning us all into patients. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-697-4. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)

External links

de:Disease Mongering it:Disease-awareness