According to a set of essays published in the Public Library of Science Medicine, drug companies are systematically inventing non-existent diseases, or exaggerating minor ones, in order to sell more of their products.
The practice turns healthy people into patients, and places many of them at risk of medically induced harm.
Minor, normal problems, such as the symptoms of menopause, have been "medicalized" into treatable illnesses, and risk factors like high cholesterol are being treated as diseases in their own right. Conditions including female sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and "restless legs syndrome" have all been exaggerated and promoted by companies hoping to sell drugs.
Even ordinary shyness is often defined by drug companies as a social anxiety disorder to be treated with antidepressants.Richard Ley, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, pointed out that some countries, including Britain, have legal safeguards against drug industry "disease mongering." Most of the criticisms, he argued, apply primarily to countries like the United States, where drugs can be advertised directly to patients.
In case you haven't already figured it out by now, a major strategy that drug companies use to convince you to give them a long-term annuity of your hard-earned cash, is to create a disease that they just happen to have the "perfect" one-pill solution for.
Of course, their pill does not eliminate the problem but conveniently relieves the symptoms as long as you continue to pay them. Their pill solution will provide you with the relief from the condition you never even realized you had prior to their marketing blitz.
It is also true that most leading drug companies now spend more on marketing than on research and development. To learn more about this you can read Dr. Marcia Angell, a former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
She spilled the beans on the drug companies in the best book I have ever read on this topic, "The Truth about Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It."
With this understanding you can have a deeper appreciation of the slate of articles from the open-access Public Library of Science article above that are devoted to disease mongering, which serves the interests of the multi-national drug corporations. The is an excellent article that articulately expands on the issue.
The practice of this low art, described in these pieces, has served drug companies well, keeping their coffers flush with cash while healthy people waste their hard-earned dollars on becoming patients who are prescribed useless and often toxic drugs that can harm them.
One of the most classic examples of a successful "new" disorder is high cholesterol.
The drug companies bought the "expert panelists" who set the national guidelines that further the unnecessary use of statin drugs. In fact, cholesterol is a symptom, rather than a cause, of illness, and using drugs to control a symptom is a sure-fire solution to worsen the problem and add unnecessary side effects in addition.
Always remember that the drug companies are trying to sell you something. They're not really concerned whether you're sick, well, get healthy, or stay ill; they just want to get you to buy their products so they can increase profits to their shareholders. That is the mandate of nearly every corporation, and I haven't seen a drug company that has gone off this path.
And they will do whatever it takes to do that, including selling you cures for diseases that don't exist.