Selling Sickness: How Drug Companies Are Turning Us All Into PatientsBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7518.701 (Published 22 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:701
- Michael Fitzpatrick, general practitioner (Fitz@easynet.co.uk)
I remember as a medical student being appalled at the spectre of well paid hospital doctors climbing over one another to get their hands on the free food and branded knick-knackson offer at supposedly educational lunchtime meetings sponsored by drug companies. I found the blandishments of the company representatives preposterous—a view confirmed when I briefly joined their ranks in a subsequent career break. Ever since I have avoided such meetings and contacts with the world of pharmaceuticals—and I am sympathetic towards the approach of the No Free Lunch campaign (endorsed by Moynihan and Cassels), which recommends that doctors “just say no to drug reps” and send back their advertising paraphernalia.
Selling Sickness is a spirited journalistic exposure of the methods used by the pharmaceutical industry to expand the market for its products. These include the redefinition of risk factors—such as raised cholesterol and blood pressure, or reduced bone mineral density—as diseases afflicting substantial sections of society and requiring treatment …