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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Patently Corrupt

Via Kevin Drum, the excerpt below from a story by Shannon Brownlee in the Washington Post describes how the pharmaceutical industry creates "diseases" in order to increase sales of their patented drugs.

Condition branders use "information" about medical conditions to forge links between disease and treatment in the minds of both patients and doctors. If they have a drug but no condition, they will simply invent a disease.

....One of the best examples is "osteopenia," a diagnosis that millions of women my age are given every year.....Before the 1990s, doctors decided that you had osteoporosis if you were elderly and you broke a bone. When the pharmaceutical company Merck came up with its anti-bone-loss durg Fosamax, it wanted a broader market than just elderly fracture patients. The solution? The company helped fund a panel of medical experts to create diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis so that a diagnosis could be made before the patient actually broke a bone.

The panel's first step was to define "normal" bone density as that of the average 30-year-old woman. Next, the experts chose as their cutoff for osteoporosis a statistical point that was slightly below the bone density of their normal 30-year-old a definition they admitted was "somewhat arbitrary." Finally, they came up with a completely new disease osteopenia for bone density that fell somewhere between that normal 30-year-old and their arbitrary definition of osteoporosis.

Voila 30 percent of post-menopausal women suddenly had a disease that needed to be treated early in order to prevent a problem hip fracture that wouldn't occur for many years, if ever. According to the new guidelines, millions more women now had osteopenia, which their doctors needed to watch like hawks so that their patients could be treated once they progressed to osteoporosis. Merck then took the added step of helping doctors buy DEXA scanners, X-ray machines needed to scan your bones to get that all-important diagnosis.

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.


Comments

I agree with what you're saying. I've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, but it's hard to tell if that diagnosis is a hoax or real. I'm active and involved in many sports where I get pushed and bumped and I fall. Never a problem. I read this article about osteoporosis to get a reality check on what to do. I'm not taking a potentially dangerous drug to avoid a fake disease!

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