Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs (1st Edition)

Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs (1st Edition)

Melody Petersen

Language: English

Pages: 359

ISBN: 2:00247191

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Publish Year note: First published March 18th 2008

In the last thirty years, the big pharmaceutical companies have transformed themselves into marketing machines selling dangerous medicines as if they were Coca-Cola or Cadillacs. They pitch drugs with video games and soft cuddly toys for children; promote them in churches and subways, at NASCAR races and state fairs. They've become experts at promoting fear of disease, just so they can sell us hope.

No question: drugs can save lives. But the relentless marketing that has enriched corporate executives and sent stock prices soaring has come with a dark side. Prescription pills taken as directed by physicians are estimated to kill one American every five minutes. And that figure doesn't reflect the damage done as the overmedicated take to the roads.

Our Daily Meds connects the dots for the first time to show how corporate salesmanship has triumphed over science inside the biggest pharmaceutical companies and, in turn, how this promotion driven industry has taken over the practice of medicine and is changing American life.

It is an ageless story of the battle between good and evil, with potentially life-changing consequences for everyone, not just the 65 percent of Americans who unscrew a prescription cap every day. An industry with the promise to help so many is now leaving a legacy of needless harm.

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four words: EXPORT TIRES NOT JOBS. Some unions had caved in. In Cherokee, Iowa, some six hundred workers at a plant manufacturing deli meats for Tyson Foods accepted a new contract in 2004 that slashed the starting wage for new employees from $10.69 to $9.00 an hour. As part of the deal, the union members agreed to start paying 25 percent of their medical costs, which before had been fully paid by Tyson. The workers also agreed to replace their pension plan with a 401(k) retirement plan, a step

from a mutant strain of staph known as MRSA that had grown resistant to many antibiotics. Another child, Dr. Grose said, had died from a bacterial strep infection so vicious that it had killed its victim even before doctors could start treatment. Other physicians found, he said, that a powerful antibiotic called Rocephin had failed to work in three young patients. The children had developed empyema, a condition in which the lungs become surrounded by cupfuls of fluid, after their infections

William K. Rashbaum and Sewell Chan, “Pilot and Supervisor Sentenced in ’03 Staten Island Ferry Crash,” The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2006. Some states, like Iowa: See Iowa Code Section 321J.2, “Operating While Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Drug.” Accessed May 2006. “It’s not fair”: Marsha Dorgan, “Driver Not Guilty of Murder in DUI Crash,” The Napa Valley Register, Feb. 1, 2006. Linda Grassi: Marsha Dorgan, “Manslaughter Conviction Brings 6-month Sentence,” Napa Valley Register, July 4,

attention. They have also learned to aim their appeals at parents’ desire to have the perfect child. Parents of short children are told that daily injections of human growth hormone can help their son grow inches and be better accepted by his peers. They are told that Ritalin will help their daughter get higher grades. An antidepressant, they learn, may help their shy child play with other kids. In 2002 and 2003 prescription spending rose faster for children than for seniors, baby boomers, or any

the brain,” stated Pfizer’s guide for patients taking Zoloft. “This helps relieve your symptoms.” Pfizer even promoted the idea of a chemical imbalance in an elaborate museum exhibit about the brain that it created and then sent to travel the circuit of the nation’s science centers, beginning with a six-month stay at the Smithsonian in Washington in 2001. By 2005 the exhibition had not yet come to Iowa, but the state’s science teachers were recommending the company’s virtual tour of the museum

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