A fascinating article at the British Medical Journal site, looking at the problem of the medicalisation of every problem in society. The author reckons it's a lot to do with new diseases being created by expert panels with financial conflicts of interest. Sound familiar?
Among the 12 members of the panel that created the controversial diagnostic category “pre-hypertension” in 2003, 11 received money from drug companies, and half of those people declared extensive ties to more than 10 companies each. Critics have rejected “pre-hypertension” as a dangerous pseudo-syndrome that could increase drug company markets, while others point out that it gives a diagnostic label to nearly 60% of the adult population of the United States. Similarly, 11 of the 12 authors of a 2009 statement on type 2 diabetes were heavily conflicted, with authors working as consultants, speakers, or researchers for an average of nine companies each. That panel advocated a contentiously low blood sugar target, and explicitly defended the use of rosiglitazone, a drug since suspended from the European market because of its hazards to human health. Within the field of sexual dysfunction, conflicts of interest have reached new heights of absurdity, with drug company employees joining their paid consultants to design diagnostic tools to identify and then medicate millions of women with a disorder of low desire that may not even exist.