DESIGNER DRUGS: Industry Feeds Pill-Popping America
With a combination of "modern medicine and savvy marketing," the pharmaceutical industry has "[c]ash[ed] in on the real and imaginary health anxieties of Americans," creating a notion of "cosmetic pharmacology," Scott Gottlieb warns in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. He argues that drug firms, by blurring the line between clinical illnesses and "bothersome physical traits," have "convinc[ed] millions of new consumers that they're afflicted with a condition that requires medication" and have raked in billions of dollars in profits as a result. Gottlieb notes that Paxil, a powerful psychotropic, was once reserved for people with mental illness defined by "rigid criteria." Today, the drug is used to treat "shyness." According to Gottlieb, doctors must stop this trend of over-medication, because "with too many pills being prescribed for too many soft diagnoses," America has become a culture of pill-popping "self- medicators," spiraling into a drug-induced "madness" (7/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.