1. A lot of money can be made from healthy people who believe they are sick. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor diseases and promote them to prescribers and consumers.
2. There’s a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they’re sick. Some forms of medicalising ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments.
3. Some Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers.
4. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease.
5. Whereas some aspects of medicalisation are the subject of ongoing debate, the mechanics of corporate backed disease mongering, and its impact on public consciousness, medical practice, human health, and national budgets, have attracted limited critical scrutiny.
6. Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups. Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable.
7. Although some sponsored professionals or consumers may act independently and all concerned may have honourable motives, in many cases the formula is the same: groups and/or campaigns are orchestrated, funded, and facilitated by corporate interests, often via their public relations and marketing infrastructure.
8. Expensive new medicines – a cure for hepatitis in the US, a breast cancer drug in the UK – are once again raising a fraught question: how much is it reasonable to ask people to pay for drugs that will keep them alive?
9. Critics blame rising prices on a profiteering industry that has arrogated to itself the power to place a price on life. The companies reply that developing drugs is now more expensive than it has ever been.