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Psychiatry and Mental Health Research

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Disease mongering: A psychological move towards an illness

Author(s): Sadia Shakeel

Disease mongering is the selling of sickness that widens the boundaries of illness in order to grow markets for those who sell and deliver treatments. It is a process that turns healthy people into patients, causes iatrogenic harm, and wastes precious resources. Disease mongering is the contemporary form of medicalization. It is a process now driven by both corporate and professional interests, and it has become part of the global debate about health care. International consumer groups now target Drug Company???Backed disease mongering as a wasteful threat to public health, while the global pharmaceutical industry has been forced to defend its promotion of Lifestyle??? medicines for problems like slimming and sexual difficulties. Pharmaceutical firms are inventing diseases to sell more drugs, researchers have warned. “It is exemplified mostly explicitly by many pharmaceutical industry-funded disease awareness campaigns - more often designed to sell drugs than to illuminate or to inform or educate about the prevention of illness or the maintenance of health. Diseasemongering promotes non-existent diseases and exaggerates mild problems to boost profits. A key strategy of the alliances is to target the news media with stories designed to create fears about the condition or disease and draw attention to the latest treatment.


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