Selling drugs that make you feel better about being ill: Big pharma’s push to oversell ADHD meds

1 Oct, 2019

Conditions like ADHD give big pharma many opportunities to sell products that don’t heal people but make them feel less stressed about being ill, the author of a book about his own experience with the disorder told RT.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder usually diagnosed in children and in some cases persists into adulthood. Sufferers generally have problems with attention span and impulse control, which affect their performance at school and may lead to being ostracized.

Large pharmaceutical companies producing drugs used in ADHD treatment have been pushing for a more thorough search for potential sufferers – which some argue is nothing but a sham to expand the market for their products. RT’s Jesse Ventura spoke to Timothy Denevi, the author of a book about his personal experience of living with ADHD, who said people should remember that big pharma is not their friend.

“I think we can agree that large pharmaceutical companies are not moral entities. They don’t have our best interests at heart,” he said.

“The same way a cigarette company or an alcohol company will make argument about their product in regards why you should consume it, I would say big pharma is doing the same thing.”

They are not here to help people but to make a profit.

Conditions like ADHD have no definite indicators – like having a virus in your blood or a deteriorated liver – so diagnosis is subject to interpretation. The effects of psychoactive drugs are often subjective as well, and may include trade-offs that are hard to measure. This opens the door for subtly biased research funded by big pharma, overprescription, and dishonest marketing practices.

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“What is advertising but saying: you are overweight, but I don’t want you to realize you are overweight; I just want you to buy this product so you would feel better about being overweight?” Denevi said.

Watch Jesse Ventura’s show for the entire interview.

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