Are the Drug Companies Making Us Sick?

Drug companies, actually drug corporations, are in the business of selling drugs to make money. They may tell you they are in business to cure disease, but sickness and disease drive their sales. The more sick people there are, the more drugs they sell.

These companies market their drugs primarily through Physicians who write multiple prescriptions for one or more ailments, and then additional medications to treat additional conditions caused by the first medications.

Imagine this typical patient, an overweight woman in her sixties who has high blood pressure. She will be given a pill designed to lower her blood pressure which will also give her headaches. She will be prescribed another medication to safely treat her headaches without interfering with her blood pressure medications. Her weight will be addressed with a medication to lower her cholesterol, possibly another pill to control her “prediabetes” and another to help her reduce the fluid she is retaining. Maybe add hormone replacement therapy as she is post-menopausal and these medications will increase her energy level.

Five to six medications from one visit. She may experience some short-term relief, but she will more likely face possible life-threatening side effects and complications caused by mismanaged multiple drug interactions. How many pills do your Grandparents take daily?

There is a strong chance that these prescriptions will be expensive on-generic drugs. Expensive for the Medicare system, your insurance company and your co-pay. If our sample patient lives on a fixed income, obtaining these expensive drugs creates financial hardship, stress and worry, and possibly life-threatening danger if she abruptly stops the medications because she cannot afford them.

Have you noticed the barrage of drug-related TV commercials directed directly at the consumer? Why would the drug companies market directly to us instead of placing their money in research or pharmaceutical sales staff? They know that as a society we are self-absorbed in how we look and how we feel. Direct marketing of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs to the consumer will increase sales. You will ask your Physician about that XYZ prescription you saw on TV or you will purchase that OTC medication the next time you visit the local drug store.

The most dangerous (and diabolical) drug company practice is known as disease mongering, selling sickness to agitate and worry customers in order to increase sales – selling drugs solely for a perceived need rather than an actual need. Creating diseases or inflating common conditions into health issues for which their drug is the only treatment, these companies make enormous profits.

One example of this practice would be Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) developed as a treatment for hypertension with erections as a side effect. Suddenly, erectile dysfunction is running rampant in the Western world and profits soar. Additionally, there is no form of generic Viagra, nor will there be until the patent expires in 2020.

A second example of disease mongering involves changing the parameters of a measurable disease like hypertension. If the numbers that define high blood pressure are lowered, millions of new customers need prescription medication for perceived hypertension, producing lower blood pressure in people who were healthy to begin with. That prescription blood pressure medicine will produce side effects that will then be treated with MORE prescription medications.

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