Three doctors warn of an epidemic of medical diagnoses fostered by the "medicalization of everyday life", improvements in medical technology and an increasing emphasis on identifying those at 'risk' of a disease. "Perhaps most worrisome is the medicalization of childhood. If children cough after exercising, they have asthma; if they have trouble reading, they are dyslexic; if they are unhappy, they are depressed; and if they alternate between unhappiness and liveliness, they have bipolar disorder.
According to internal marketing documents, "Eli Lilly encouraged primary care physicians to use Zyprexa, a powerful drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, in patients who did not have either condition." Under U.S. law, companies can't promote "prescription drugs for conditions for which they have not been approved ...
The chief of the geriatric psychiatry branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Pearson Sunderland III, has pleaded guilty to accepting approximately $300,000 in undisclosed fees and expenses from Pfizer between 1997 and 2004. The NIMH is a part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), which conducts and funds medical research projects.
Public health charities are under intense pressure from potential or ongoing commercial sponsors to boost their budgets with product promotion schemes. For example, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) currently has a $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury Schweppes, maker of Dr. Pepper and the Cadbury Creme egg.
Negotiators representing Big Pharma and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are close to a deal on raising fees paid by industry to speed up reviews of direct-to-consumer advertising. A spokesperson for the trade group BioCentury said that the FDA is seeking to raise about $6.2 million per year, putting individual application review fees at about $41,000.
The drug industry is bracing itself for major legislative changes once the new Congress sits. Forbes journalist Matthew Herper notes that, following the mid-term elections, major drug company shares have dropped by over 5%.