Selling Sickness

How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning us All into Patients

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Press Release: Voiceprint

Pharmaceutical industry working to expand definition of illness to maximize profit, controversial author tells VoicePrint

Sept. 27, 2005 (Toronto, ON) The pharmaceutical industry is working to expand the boundaries of illness to maximize profit margins, claims the co-author of a new book, Selling Sickness, is the guest on Contact this Sunday on VoicePrint Canada at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3 p.m. Pacific.

“We cannot be careless about how the actual conditions for many healthy people are being created, shaped and designed into conditions which drug treatment might be pushed,” says Alan Cassels, who co-authored the book with Ray Moynihan. Cassels is the guest on Contact this Sunday on VoicePrint Canada at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3 p.m. Pacific.

During the interview with VoicePrint Canada’s Paul Daniel, Cassels discusses how drug companies create the proper sales climate for their products. For example, “social anxiety disorder,” for such things as shyness, was marketed by drug companies before the drug was even introduced to the public. “When that drug was launched, it created a huge pool of desire for this new treatment. Up to that point, we hadn’t heard of anything like social anxiety disorder,” he states.

Cassels says there is a relationship between physicians and the drug industry that needs to be scrutinized more carefully. For example, he believes the idea of doctors getting information on the latest medications from the drug companies along with samples is excessive. “What we see in Canada is spending by drug companies of approximately $20,000 per doctor per year to market drugs. That’s an awful lot of money. That’s more than we spend in all of the medical schools in Canada combined,” says Cassels. The interview can be downloaded from the web site’s Audio Archive.

VoicePrint Canada is a not-for-profit charity established in 1989 to enhance access to printed news and information by 4.4 million vision- and print-restricted Canadians. VoicePrint Canada can be accessed on the Secondary Audio Program of CBC Newsworld; Star Choice, ExpressVu and LookTV audio channels and on the Internet at