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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 7875

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Lexchin J.
Bigger and Better: How Pfizer Redefined Erectile Dysfunction
PLoS Med 2006 Apr; 3:(4):
http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0030132


Abstract:

In the pursuit of profits, pharmaceutical companies are continuously looking to expand the market for their products. This article examines how Pfizer transformed Viagra from an effective product for erectile dysfunction (ED) due to medical problems, such as diabetes and spinal cord damage, into a drug that “normal” men can use to enhance their ability to achieve an erection and to maintain it (in a “harder” state) for a longer period of time.

The Rise of Lifestyle Drugs
An important emerging issue in health care is the availability of medications to treat what until recently have been regarded as the natural results of aging or as part of the normal range of human emotions. Thus, we now see treatments widely advertised for male pattern baldness and shyness. Deviating even further, drug therapy is moving out of treating diseases to providing enhancements to what had hitherto been seen as normal functioning. This evolution in the use of medications has introduced dilemmas and controversies about what are legitimate conditions and treatments for those concerned with prescription medications: is any deviation from normality fair game for treatment? What about people who have nothing medically wrong with them, but just want to feel better? Who will pay for these therapies, and what are the implications for the way we use health-care resources?…


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You are going to have many difficulties. The smokers will not like your message. The tobacco interests will be vigorously opposed. The media and the government will be loath to support these findings. But you have one factor in your favour. What you have going for you is that you are right.
- Evarts Graham
See:
When truth is unwelcome: the first reports on smoking and lung cancer.