Disease Mongering Essay

1290 Words 6 Pages
Moynihan, Heath and Henry argue that the pharmaceutical industry capitalises on the want of consumers to eliminate undesirable conditions. They claim that pharmaceutical companies partake in “disease mongering”: that is, they fabricate new diseases by “widening the boundaries of treatable illness”. Critics such as Healy and Dossey agree with this claim. However, I will argue that, although not unfounded, the claim that pharmaceutical companies are guilty of disease mongering is not justified. I will argue that the definition of disease presented by Moynihan, Heath and Henry does not conform to the accepted definition of disease. Furthermore, I will argue that the pharmaceutical industry merely takes advantage of the pre-existing market for …show more content…
Individuals hold differing views on what they consider to be normal for their own physical and mental state. For some, the physical signs of aging are considered to be a deviation from normal functioning requiring treatment. The definition of disease described by Moynihan, Heath and Henry does not encompass such deviations. In fact, they claim that deviations resulting in conditions such as baldness or social phobia are not classifiable as treatable illnesses in the sense that the pharmaceutical industry classifies them. Moynihan, Heath and Henry argue that pharmaceutical companies widen “the boundaries of treatable illnesses in order to expand markets” (2002, p. 886). They label this as “inappropriate medicalisation”, by which healthy people are made to believe that they are …show more content…
Campaigns addressing health concerns, organised by pharmaceutical companies, commonly align with the release of a new drug to the market to treat the health concern. Since new treatment drugs often spend years in the approval stage and undergo many trials to ensure consumer safety, it makes no sense that marketing campaigns produce the demand for drugs. It would be nonsensical and uneconomical for a pharmaceutical company to produce drugs for which they need to create their own market. Ultimately, consumers decide which conditions are requiring of treatment.
While critics fail to recognise the consumer-origin for the demand of treatment drugs, they do recognise the opportunistic nature of marketing and consumerism. Pharmaceutical companies take advantage of the human pursuit of perfection. As is human nature, we are creatures striving to improve our own desirability and longevity. Consumers create the market for drugs that eliminate or reduce illnesses and ailments viewed as undesirable. Pharmaceutical companies merely take advantage of that, introducing quick-fix ways by which health and wellness can be

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