Direct to consumer advertising is medicalising normal human experience AGAINST Medicalisation refers to the theory that people seek to categorise life’s normal vicissitudes as medical problems. The term is also used in medical sociology, to suggest that those with a pecuniary or territorial interest in ill health—not least doctors and the pharmaceutical industry—try to foster exaggerated anxiety about disease and potential disease, so as to encourage essentially healthy people to seek unnecessary medical products and services. 12 In this latter sense “medicalisation” has become a theory of social control and has been used as an argu-ment against direct to consumer communication by pharmaceutical companies. The health deficit In stark contrast to these theoretical constructs, epide-miological evidence shows a substantial under-diagnosis of many of the major diseases and known risk factors for which effective treatments exist (hyper-tension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and childhood asthma). Even after diagno-sis, these diseases are massively undertreated. 34 This failure to treat—together with non-compliance (esti-mated as some 50% for prescribed medicines across all the major chronic diseases)—leads to a considerable social burden of otherwise avoidable morbidity and mortality. 5–8 These data make the most powerful case for greater public awareness of the benefits of modern medicine. The pharmaceutical industry in Europe has been limited in contributing to this awareness by
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2010 for the course ENG 000121 taught by Professor Mcgrand during the Spring '10 term at Cornell.