The Daily Mail are doing a good job, I hope they can keep it up. Pharma advertising worked tremendously well ($$$$) for Pharma in America and it'll take every bit of media counter information thats available to stop them from achieving the same levels of profit from harm over here.
"Can a pill cure Bashful?
As Britons pop ever more tablets, how drugs companies are turning personality traits into ailments
By John Naish
Last updated at 11:13 AM on 30th March 2010
Epidemic: The amount spent on prescriptions for social phobia by the NHS more than doubled between 1997 and 2002
Ten years ago, if you described shyness or restless legs as a bona fide illness, people would have laughed.
But these conditions are just part of an epidemic of newly-invented illnesses sweeping Britain.
And we take them so seriously we're prepared to swallow handfuls of strong and sometimes harmful pills.
As the Mail reported yesterday, we have become a nation of pill poppers, picking up more than 16 prescriptions a year on average, twice as many as 20 years ago.
This is despite the fact that we live longer and healthier lives than ever before.
The figures are a tribute to the power of drug company public-relations teams, who have convinced doctors and patients alike that there are new illnesses emerging that can be treated by their drugs.
This has been labelled ' disease-mongering' by the respected journal, Public Library of Science Medicine.
Part of our readiness to swallow these pharmaceutical inventions is because many of us believe we deserve medication for every one of life's problems, says Professor Joan Busfield, a clinical psychologist and sociologist from Essex University.
Writing in the journal Social Science & Medicine, she argues that the age of stoicism is dead.
We also have the luxury of noticing afflictions more. A hundred years ago, serious diseases like measles, typhoid and TB were a fact of life.
The modern tendency to overdiagnose every vague symptom as a named disease has almost certainly contributed to the rise in modern 'lifestyle' conditions.
We are also seeing the rise of diagnosis-creep, where conditions with fuzzy borders, such as depression, ADHD and autism, steadily become 'diagnosed' in more and more people.
Obesity: Children's prescription levels for diet pills have risen 15-fold in a decade
In one study of people who had been prescribed pills for clinical depression, a third were found to have suffered a genuinely adverse experience, such as bereavement, and needed time and support to get over it, rather than having their minds fuzzed with drug.
This problem of over-entitlement may only be worsened by another development: pharmaceutical companies will soon be able to advertise in this country.
For the first time, the European Commission is to allow drug companies to use the media to provide information on prescription drugs to the public.
While the EU says that drug-makers won't be allowed to explicitly promote their wares, many experts say this will be impossible to police and may open the floodgates to a host of new lifestyle ailments and demands from patients.
Here we examine some of the most common new ailments - and their unpleasant, even risky potential side-effects. It may make you think twice about getting that prescription.
We all feel shy when entering a room full of strangers. But in the past two decades, shyness has become a disease - social anxiety disorder - treatable with antidepressant-type drugs.
Back in 1993, Roche developed the drug Mannerix to treat 'social phobia'. It claimed that about 10 per cent of us suffer crippling bashfulness.
But the company could not find enough sufferers for clinical trials.
Drugmakers were not deterred and in the following years successfully lobbied for social phobia to become accepted as a condition after launching new sets of trials.
Pfizer markets the drug Zoloft in America as a cure for Social Anxiety Disorder.
Figures compiled for the Daily Mail by independent health data firm IMS Health show the amount spent on prescriptions for social phobia by the NHS more than doubled between 1997 and 2002, from £ 84 million to almost £189 million.
Seroxat has emerged as a popular drug for social phobia.
SIDE-EFFECTS: Seroxat has been dogged by controversy over its safety and was banned from use for children in Britain in 2004 because of fears that withdrawal might trigger suicidal thoughts.
The idea of people being 'clinically obese' through some problem with their metabolism rather than diet and lifestyle has gained such credibility in past years as to be almost unquestionable.
We have medicalised what was only recently regarded a willpower problem.
Official guidelines say diet pills should only be prescribed to people defined as 'morbidly obese', whose body mass index is above 27. But these strict guidelines appear to be going unheeded.
Between 2004 and 2008, prescribing almost doubled for pills that either prevent the body from absorbing fat or suppress the appetite (the number of prescriptions went from 700,00 in 2004 to 1,200,000 in 2008, a rise from £30m to £44m).
The prescription rise seems strong among children. Professor Busfield warns that children's prescription levels have risen 15-fold in a decade. Xenical (orlistat), Sibutramine and rimonabant have been among the most commonly prescribed weight loss pills.
SIDE-EFFECTS: Sibutramine has just been taken off the market on the recommendation of the european Medicines Agency, after a trial showed it increased the risk of strokes and heart attacks. A year ago, rimonabant was taken off the market because it was linked to psychiatric problems. A group of British patients is mounting legal action against the manufacturers, the French firm Sanofi-Aventis.
No quick fix: Trials of Viagra on women have indicated that a woman's mood, rather than a pill, has most effect on arousal
LOSS OF LIBIDO
Also known as Female Sexual Dysfunction, it is the female equivalent of erectile dysfunction, and could prove a great way to sell medical aphrodisiacs to 'fix' women who aren't in the mood. It has been given another, posher name, to convince people that it's a real illness: hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
But health professionals, and the public, are yet to be convinced-In the British Medical Journal, John Bancroft, director of the prest igious Kinsey Institute, called it 'preconceived' and 'non-evidence based'.
Trials of Viagra on women have indicated that a woman's mood, rather than a pill, has most effect on arousal. Undaunted, the German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim is trying to stir interest in its drug Flibanserin as a treatment for FSD. The drug is still awaiting a licence, but is expected to hit the shelves in 2011, subject to eU approval.
SIDE-EFFECTS: One common unwanted effect is female outrage. Lisa Martinez, founder of the Women's Sexual Health Foundation says: 'The idea that a lack of interest in sex should be immediately approached with a pill means the multiple contributory factors to problems may well be missed.'
RLS has been built up by drugcompany publicists as a dreadful modern contagion. The defining symptom is an urge to move one's legs, often at night.
In 2003, GlaxoSmithKline launched a campaign to raise awareness of it as a 'common yet unrecognised disorder'. In 2005, it was granted approval to use ropinirole, to treat the condition. In 2008, 313,400 drugs were dispensed by the nHS at a cost of £28,492,500.
SIDE-EFFECTS: ropinirole is a dopamine-agonist drug, of the class used to treat Parkinson's disease. There is increasing concern about these drugs, as they can cause uncontrolled, compulsive behaviours such as eating disorders.
There is not a clear definition of what ADHD is. nor is there a definite test. Despite this, more than 10,000 prescriptions a week are written for anti-hyperactivity drugs, according to Professor Busfield. This is despite concerns they are being used as a 'chemical cosh' on boisterous youngsters - and the fact that even a decade ago ADHD hardly existed.
The symptoms laid out in the psychiatrist's bible, the mentalhealth diagnostic manual DSM-IV, are vague enough to invite overdiagnosis ('often does not follow instructions' and 'often loses things'z). The pills usually prescribed for ADHD - ritalin, Concerta and Strattera - are in the same class as amphetamines.
The condition should diminish as youngsters approach adulthood, allowing teenagers to be weaned off the drugs. But nHS documents show a quarter of the drugs prescribed for ADHD last year were issued to adults.
SIDE-EFFECTS: Laboratory studies indicate that long-term use of ritalin-type drugs in childhood may result in memory problems in adulthood. A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry last year found that ritalin-class drugs are associated with a six-fold increased risk for sudden death in children and adolescents. Overall, that risk rate is still very small, but some experts have called for children to be given heart tests before being put on drugs for ADHD. "