Historical Archive

Life is not sick

Health now seems like an accident along the way, an improbable coincidence. The medical world claims to have found around 40,000 different diseases, syndromes and disorders in humans. And for each one there is a pill, a sting, drops and a treatment. The underlying concept is that the healthy is a subject who does not know he is sick. A little nervous? Shyness, concern, some sign of passing time, motherhood, baldness or cellulite? The army of "healers" is working to transform normal life processes, changes, personal and social discomforts into diseases. The imperative is to sell.

The recipe is proven: half-truths, inflated or understated data, surveys and research by compliant experts, lots of communication and we arrive at artfully marketed "epidemics". In jargon it is called "disease mongering", doing business with diseases. In Italy, after Greece and Austria, we have the highest number of doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, 410 against 3% in Germany and 332 in France, and our healthcare expenditure has grown by 50 percent from 2001 to today, rising from 6.3 to 7.6 of the wealth produced, the GDP.

An immense market. In 2011, reports the Medicines Agency, we spent 14 billion and 394 million euros on medicines, an average of 237 euros per person, including babies.


It is no coincidence that drug makers are diverting investment from research to marketing: 31 billion dollars for research and 67 billion dollars for marketing and administration, according to the 2003 business magazine "Fortune 500". Every day, according to the investigative book "The inventors of diseases" by Jiirg Blech, about 5,500 new medical specialties are produced.

The guideline is "to invent medicines for healthy people", in the words of Henry Gadsen, a former director of a pharmaceutical company. Diseases are advertised more than medicines. «A few decades ago - Prof Silvio Garattini, founder of the "Mario Negri" research institute, reminds Acqua & Sapone - the politics of the pharmaceutical industry was under the responsibility of doctors, today instead it is marketing that decides, medicine is becoming a business. Thus drugs instead of being "health tools"

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco