My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Do you have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? Better ask your Doctor

The story behind the “discovery” of PMDD illustrates how an unknown, unofficial and, for some, unreal condition can be pushed from the back pages of the psychiatrist’s manual into glossy magazines and onto TV screens.

Cut to the 1999 TV commercial:

An anonymous woman tries to disentangle a shopping cart from an interlocked row of them, outside a suburban store. She is frustrated and angry. She becomes even more exasperated when another shopper enters the frame, calmly unhooks a cart and glides smoothly on her way. Watching this TV advertisement unfold, it might look like the woman is experiencing little more than a normal bout of tension or stress. But the folks at the drug company Lilly know better. This woman may need a powerful antidepressant because she is suffering from a severe form of mental illness known as PMDD. “Think it’s PMS? It could be PMDD,” intones the voiceover. This remarkable disorder was discovered right as the patent for Prozac was about to run out. So Lilly decided to repaint Prozac in attractive lavender and pink and rename it Sarafem.

In a recent study by Dartmouth College analyzing some seventy drug company ads in ten popular magazines, they found that almost half tried to encourage consumers to consider medical causes for their common experiences, most often urging them to consult a physician. The ads targeted aspects of ordinary life including sneezing, hair loss and being overweight - things many people could clearly manage without seeing a doctor - and portrayed them as though they were part of a medical condition. The researchers speculated that advertising was increasingly medicalizing ordinary experience, and pushing the boundaries of medical influence far too wide.

This medicalization of everyday human experiences is allowed to happen because the drug companies are allowed free reign of both medical funding, medical advertising, and an overly welcoming drug approval process. So in accordance with both the drug companies and the compliant FDA, I would like to officially announce my new miracle drug called Repressitall for Living Includes Frequent Experiences or LIFE. Repressitall deals with LIFE in a way that allows an individual to exist without actually having to “experience life”. The new miracle drug will give people the power to travel through life in a state of complete ignorant bliss all for the low price of $300 a week with 15 small pills a day. I hope to have FDA approval by next week.

1 comment:

Jean-Sidney Kindler said...

In this competitive multibillion dollar industry, we need innovative industry scientists that a) have the imagination it takes to conjur up a new disorder and matching drug b) are unencumbered by scientific integrity that would necessitate requiring evidence based medicine.

We would hate to lose Repressitall to a competitor.

Allied Pharmapseudocals