Had you ever heard of "restless leg syndrome" before seeing TV commercials for Requip? This is just one example of disease mongering: "trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill."
You may think there is enough disease in the world already, and that no one would want to add to the diseases that we humans must deal with. But there is a powerful industry in our society that is working overtime to invent illnesses and to convince us we are suffering from them.
This effort is known as "disease mongering," a term introduced by health-science writer Lynn Payer in her 1992 book Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick. Payer defined disease mongering as "trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill." This strategy has also been called "the corporate construction of disease" by Ray Moynihan, Iona Heath and David Henry in the British Medical Journal. "There's a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they're sick," they say. "Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers." Read more