Thursday, 7 October 2010


There is an increasing awareness in medical practice of the medicalisation of essentially healthy individuals. One of the best examples of this is that ultimate panacea, HRT, promoted heavily as the cure all for post menopausal women. 

It is no surprise that the drug companies feature prominently in campaigns to identify, and treat new conditions that in the past were not considered illnesses at all. A good example of this is “female sexual dysfunction” where any women who does not have the sexual appetite of a bonobo is claimed to be in some way lacking, and requiring treatment with the latest female equivalent of Viagra.

The medical profession, encouraged by the pharmaceutical industry, is starting to act like the alt med frauds, convincing the worried well that they have a diagnosis that requires “treatment”. This is reinforced by articles in the media that are little more than advertising for the drug companies.

This “pseudo medical advertising” has been criticised before by a Dr R E Dawson in a letter to the BMJ. To quote from his letter;

“.....spate of pernicious pseudo-medical advertising which daily screams at us from newspapers, placards, and television screens, telling us that we are One Degree Under.; that we need this to give us deep relaxing sleep and thus solve all our psychosocial problems, that unless we use that product our children's cerebral cortexes will never put on the spurt needed.......”
“One feels off-colour, sickly, and grumpy with the children. Unless one immediately takes large rations of "X," a product of no therapeutic value at all , one's husband will instantly pay attention to a pretty girl over the road, or an underling will win promotion over one's head, and so on.

What is interesting is when Dr Dawson wrote this. It is from the BMJ of June 21 1958.

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